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Cancer Screening & Diagnosis

  • Early Detection Saves Lives

    Mount Elizabeth Cancer Screening

    Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Singapore and you are recommended to undergo colorectal screening from the age of 50. Early stage colorectal cancer may present no symptoms and early detection can greatly increase the chances for successful treatment. Mount Elizabeth’s colorectal screening packages consist of a gastroscopy, a colonoscopy, and a combination of both to help you detect risk factors for colorectal cancer in its earliest stage.

    For appointments and enquiries, please call the Mount Elizabeth Patient Assistance Centre 24-hour Hotline at +65 6653 6284.

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    • Cancer Screening

      doctor performs cancer screening and diagnosis

      Cancer screening can potentially save your life because many cancers can be more effectively treated when detected early. In some cancers, the presence of symptoms may already indicate that the disease has spread and may have reached an advanced stage, making treatment more difficult.

      Screening tests help to look for abnormal tissue and early signs of cancer, sometimes even before symptoms may emerge. Screening is especially effective in the prevention and early detection of cancers such as breast cancercervical cancer and colorectal cancer.

      It is recommended to undergo cancer screening if you have the following risk factors:
      (In some cases, screening is not related to risk factors and you should still undergo screening tests such as the Pap smear for cervical cancer.)

      • Increasing age
      • Frequent and excessive consumption of alcohol
      • Family history of cancer
      • Infection, having been infected with viruses, such as the human papilloma virus (HPV), Hepatitis B or C
      • Obesity
      • Smoking
      • Work near cancer-causing substances, such as industrial chemicals

      Look out for early warning signs of cancer and check with a doctor if you have any of the following:

      1. A lump, which may or may not be painful on your body, such as on the neck, breast, armpit or groin
      2. A sore or ulcer on your body that does not seem to heal
      3. Changes in a mole on your skin, such as in its size, shape or colour
      4. Abnormal nosebleeds, or bleeding from other parts of the body, or blood in your stools

      These are some common cancer screening tests:

      Colonoscopy screening test for colorectal and colon cancer

      Alpha-fetoprotein blood test, PSA test, CA-125 test, faecal occult blood test

      These blood tests are used with other tests for the early detection of various types of cancer. The faecal occult blood test checks for the presence of blood in the stools, while the other tests check for tumour markers present in the blood. These tumour marker tests are not part of the official recommendations for cancer screening.

      Colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy

      These tests are used to detect abnormal growths in the colon, like colon polyps that may develop into cancer.

      Low-dose helical computed tomography

      This is used to screen for lung cancer, and is usually used for patients with significant smoking history.

      Mammography

      This is a scan of the breasts used to screen for abnormal growths or tumours in women who may or may not have symptoms and signs of breast cancer.

      Breast MRI

      This imaging test is not a standard screening tool and is used to screen women with a high risk of breast cancer.

      Pap smear and human papilloma virus (HPV) testing

      The Pap smear tests for cancerous or abnormal cells at the cervix. As HPV infection can be a precursor for cervical cancer, testing for the presence of the HPV virus can prevent its spread and help detect cancer early.

      Transvaginal ultrasound

      This imaging test is not a routine screening test. It is used to scan the ovaries and uterus to help detect ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

    • Cancer Diagnosis

      Doctor uses microscope to check for cancer cells in biopsy

      Symptoms, imaging techniques, diagnostic tests and biopsies are all used to help doctors diagnose cancer.

      Imaging techniques are often used to detect the presence of tumours in the body. These include X-rays, computer tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, and ultrasound scans.

      One confirmatory way to diagnose cancer is by undertaking a biopsy and examining the cells under a microscope. Different diagnostic tests at the molecular level can also be used to help diagnose cancer, including the analysis of your DNA and levels of sugars, fats and proteins in the body.

      After the diagnosis, the doctor will determine the stage of the cancer and the extent of its spread. This helps to determine appropriate treatments and helps the doctor to come up with a prognosis.

      Cancer is frequently classified according to stages that go up to stage 4. Stage 1 cancer tends to respond better to treatment, while stage 4 is the last stage and indicates that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

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