Have loved ones over 50? Urge them to go for colorectal cancer screening

Cancer experts are urging young people to advise their loved ones who are over 50 to go for colorectal cancer screening.

"People think that 'it can't be me'. They don't want to screen for cancer or are afraid to do so. But colorectal cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Singapore," said Dr Cheong Wai Kit, Chairman of the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaign 2014 and surgeon at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS).

Speaking at the launch of the 13th edition of the campaign on Thursday, Dr Cheong highlighted that the risk of colorectal cancer increases significantly for those over 50. "This is where younger loved ones come in, give them (older loved ones) a nudge and bring them screening kits."

As part of the campaign, the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) will distribute free colorectal screening kits at SingHealth and National Healthcare Group Polyclinics next month and in April. The kits will be available at 73 Guardian outlets and SCS offices in Bishan and Realty Centre.

NCIS and National University Hospital (NUH) are also working with several companies including SMRT, Shell and ST Engineering to bring colorectal cancer awareness to the workplace. A number of cancer doctors may visit these companies to give talks and distribute the kits.

NCIS and NUH will also work with Fuhua Primary School and Bukit Timah Primary School to educate students about colorectal cancer. They hope that students would spread the cancer-screening message to their parents and grandparents.

Grassroots volunteers at the Kallang-Moulmein GRC will also educate residents about the disease at void decks and distribute the kits. They hope to reach out to 3,000 residents in the district.

Said Dr Cheong: "We need to take a whole society approach to fighting this disease.

"Colorectal cancer can be prevented through screening. It may detect polyps and we can remove them before they become cancerous. Even if cancer is detected, it may be curable through surgery, so screen early."

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