Learn About Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal Cancer can be prevented

Colorectal cancer development takes time and goes through different stages of polyp growth. Detection and removal of early stage polyps can prevent the development of cancer. Even when cancer has developed, early-stage cancer has a very high chance to be successfully treated. Thus, regular check-up of the colon is essential to preventing colorectal cancer.

Recommended Screening Intervals

Doctors recommend regular screenings for all adults aged 50 years or above.

You can choose one of many options, depending on your budget and personal health circumstances. For more information or medical advice, please consult your doctor.

Name Mehod Recommended interval
(Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) A simple procedure that checks for hidden blood in stool samples, which can be a sign of cancer, polyps, or ther internal disorders Every year
Flexible sigmoidoscopy A procedure using a flexible, lighted tube to visually inspect the interior walls of the rectum and the lower colon Every 5 years
Double-contrast barium enema An x-ray examination that allows a radiologist to view the entire colon. Contrast material needs to be infused into the colon through a small tube placed in the anus before taking the x-ray Every 5 years
Colonoscopy A similar procedure except that the colonoscope is long enough to view the entire colon Every 10 years

normal colon poly during the colonoscopy perform immediate polypectomy cancer in the colon

Colorectal Cancer Screening Test

In contrast to Hong Kong, U.S health department authorities recommend Colorectal Cancer screening regularly, the frequency depending on the type of test conducted. Screening in the general population mainly include a faecal occult blood test (FOBT)once a year or once every two years, flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) once every 5 years or colonoscopy once every 10 years, beginning at age 50 and continuing until age 75.

Similarly, the U.K Government recommends that bowel cancer screening using FOBT should be offered to men and women above 50 years of age. The frequency of screening recommend by the NHS in the U.K is once every 2 years, suggesting that men and women between the ages of 60 to 75 to undertake a FOBT.

Reduce your risk

Maintain a healthy weight
Research shows that being overweight or obese, and particularly carrying extra weight around your waist, increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Choosing a healthy, balanced diet and being physically active can help you manage your weight.

Choose a healthy diet
Scientific evidence has shown that there is a link between red meat and colorectal cancer. That's why it is recommended that eating less red meat-aim for less than 500g or 12.5 taels (cooked weight) of red meat (beef, pork and lamb) a week. The research linking processed meat (like bacon, ham and salami) with colorectal cancer is even stronger, so we recommend avoiding these meat as much as possible.

Try to include more wholegrains (like brown rice and wholegrain bread), pulses (like beans and lentils) and vegetables and fruits in your diet to keep your digestive system healthy. Scientific studies have found that the fibre and other nutrients in these plant foods can lower our colorectal cancer risk.

Try to limit your intake of alcohol. WCRF HK recommends men should not drink more than 2 cups of alcohol and women should limit to 1 cup only each day.

Early diagnosis
The common symptoms of colorectal cancer include rectal bleeding, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lump, anemia with no reasons, loss of appetite and weight. If these symptoms occur, please seek your doctor's advice immediately.

Testing and Screening
Medical literature has proved that regular colorectal examination can lower the mortality rate of colorectal cancer to 33%. The medical suggests adults aged 50-70 with no symptoms of colorectal cancer should conduct fecal occult blood test (FOBT) each year, flexible sigmoidoscopy once per five years or colonoscopy for every ten years persistently.

Be Physically Active
Being physically active uses up extra calories and helps you avoid gaining weight. It also helps food to move through your digestive system more quickly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day.