‘Only men can get it’, ‘I’m too young to get it’- These are among the common misconceptions of Colorectal Cancer which is further from the truth. Colorectal cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among males and females in Malaysia.
A Global Issue
When asked why this form of cancer was prevalent among Malaysians, Dr Ragu Ramasamy, Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon at Avisena Specialist Hospital shared that it was difficult to pinpoint but food and lifestyle are contributing factors.
“Lifestyle-related factors such as high intake of red meat, excessive smoking and drinking have been linked to Colorectal Cancer,” Dr Ragu shared adding that this lifestyle was causing a global increase in Colorectal Cancer.
Early Detection Saves Lives
While diet and lifestyle are risk factors that you can change, there are irreversible factors that one should be cautious of.
“Everyone, male or female, who are over 50 falls under the average risk category while those who have a family history of Colorectal Cancer fall under moderate to high risk,”
“I cannot emphasise more the importance of scheduling your screenings. Many people wait for symptoms before they get checked, but even the earliest symptom is never early enough. Abdominal pain, bloody stools, and excessive weight are presenting symptoms of colorectal cancer,” warned Dr. Ragu.
The two types of screening you can do- Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood Test (iFOBT), which identifies bloody stools for those above 50 and colonoscopy for patients who fall under the high risk category.