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Division of Colorectal Surgery

Colorectal Surgery

Delivering Personalised Care
The National University Hospital (NUH) is proud to be ranked among the world's best hospitals by Newsweek. As part of NUH, the Division of Colorectal Surgery constantly aims to deliver excellent patient-centric care, and we do so by measuring patient-reported outcomes and monitoring clinical outcomes closely.

The Division of Colorectal Surgery treats malignant and benign conditions relating to the colon, rectum and anus. We believe in the early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer - the most common cancer in Singapore amongst men and women.

Our care is multi-disciplinary and personalised to the needs of our patients. You and your loved ones will be given a treatment plan tailored specially for you. Our consultant-led clinics run every day from Monday to Friday, so you can be sure your care will be managed by a specialist.

If you or your loved ones have a confirmed diagnosis of colorectal cancer and wish for a second opinion, please contact us at our appointment line (+65 6908 2222). It is our commitment that all patients seeking a second opinion will be seen within 1 working day by one of our specialists

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As the number one cancer in Singapore afflicting men and women, colorectal cancer contributes to significant morbidity and mortality. Early detection and treatment reduces the risk of death from colorectal cancer. 

If you experience the following symptoms, please make an appointment to find out more:

Blood in stools - 
Passing blood in the stool (hematochezia) is a commonly encountered symptom. The colour of the blood can suggest the location of bleeding: Bright red bleeding tends to occur due to conditions of the anus and rectum, such as haemorrhoidsanal fissures and rectal cancer. Dark red bleeding tends to occur due to bleeding higher up in the digestive tract, such as the colon. Conditions that cause this include diverticulosis and colon cancer. If you have blood in the stools, as well as associated symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, a change in your usual bowel habits, or a strong family history of colorectal cancer, you should be evaluated for colorectal cancer.


New onset constipation or diarrhoea -
Constipation
Normal bowel movements differ between people. Some may have up to 3 bowel movements a day, while others may go a few days in between without having one. Factors that contribute to constipation include inadequate intake of water, fibre and physical activity. Medical conditions that contribute to constipation include high calcium levels and hormonal derangements. If you have new onset constipation that is persistent, you should undergo evaluation for a medical cause, including a colonoscopy for colorectal cancer.  On the other hand, diarrhoea is most commonly due to benign causes such as a viral infection (gastroenteritis). In Asians, it is also commonly due to lactose intolerance. Persistent diarrhoea should prompt evaluation for underlying causes such as chronic infectious causes, inflammatory bowel disease and spurious diarrhoea from colorectal cancer.


​Incontinence -
Incontinence
Faecal incontinence can be a distressing symptom. It may manifest as passive seepage of solid or liquid stools or as an inability to reach the toilet in time during periods of urgency. Incontinence is commonly associated with a history of obstetric trauma or previous anal surgery.


Anal Pain -
Pain around the anus commonly occurs due to anal fissures, which are traumatic tears in the lining around the anus due to the passage of hard stools. Treatment usually includes stool softeners, painkillers and medications to relieve the associated spasm in the anal sphincter muscles.

Pain around the anus may also be due to prolapsed or thrombosed haemorrhoids. These are usually treated with stool softeners and topical anaesthetic agents initially, while surgery may be indicated once the acute event has settled down.

If anal pain is associated with discharge and fever, these may be due to perianal abscesses or anal fistulas. These may be treated with antibiotics, and some may require surgery for definitive management.

Some other colorectal cancer symptoms also include:

  • ​Sensation of incomplete emptying when passing motion

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Family or personal history of colon cancer, endometrial (uterus) cancer, stomach cancer, small intestine cancer

  • Personal history of colon polyps or inflammatory bowel disease


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Colorectal cancer is curable if detected early. Early detection is also crucial for ensuring the best outcomes.   Individuals with colon polyps or early colon cancer may not display any symptoms. We therefore encourage all patients above the age of 50 to undergo regular screening for colorectal cancer. There are two common screening methods in Singapore.


1. Faecal
 Immunohistochemical Test (FIT)
The FIT tests for blood in the stool that may not be visible to the naked eye. The FIT kit comes with a stick that is used to collect a small sample of stool. However, this test is not useful if you already have symptoms of passing blood in your stools. 
Fit kit


2. Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is the 'gold standard' for screening for colorectal cancer. During a colonoscopy, the doctor uses
an endoscope  - a flexible tube with a camera  - to evaluate the inner lining of the colon and rectum. During the
colonoscopy, any identified polyps are removed and sent for microscopic evaluation. Other areas of concern may
be biopsied as well. The removal of polyps can be both diagnostic and therapeutic as some of these polyps may eventually develop into cancer.

Colonoscopy


If you or your loved ones have a history of the following conditions, you may be required to start screening before the age of 50:

  • Colon polyps
  • Personal or family history of colon cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • Genetic diseases such as:
    • Familial adenomatous polyposis
    • Lynch syndrome


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The Division of Colorectal Surgery offers an exhaustive range of up-to-date medical treatments, clinic-based therapies and surgical procedures to our patients, some of which are mentioned below:

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery: Small incisions are made over the abdomen and special instruments are used to perform surgery under general anaesthesia. These avoid the need for large wounds and reduce post-operative pain, wound infection rates and decrease lengths of stay.

Robotic surgery: Small incisions are made over the abdomen and surgeon-controlled robotic arms are used to perform surgery under general anaesthesia. This is similar to laparoscopic surgery.

 

Transanal Surgery

Transanal Minimally Invasive Surgery (TAMIS) uses a specialised platform to remove growths from the mid to upper rectum. It avoids the need for major abdominal surgery for large polyps or early rectal cancers.

Transanal Total Mesorectal Excision (taTME) is a novel surgical approach for treatment of rectal cancer. Two surgical teams work in tandem using a combined abdominal and transanal approach to remove low rectal cancers.


Transanal Surgery
Advanced E\ndoscopy.

Advanced Endoscopy
​Previously, large colon polyps require a resection of the colon for complete removal. Today, advanced endoscopic resection techniques such as Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) and Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD) have allowed patients to avoid surgery.


Cytoreductive Surgery and Heated Intra-peritoneal Chemotherapy (CRS and HIPEC)
​Patients with advanced cancer affecting the peritoneum may be suitable for CRS and HIPEC. This is an advanced surgery involving the resection of all visible cancer and the delivery of heated chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity. 

Pressurised Intra-Peritoneal Aerosolised Chemotherapy (PIPAC)
PIPAC is a novel, promising technology for the treatment of patients with advanced cancer involving the peritoneum. Chemotherapy is delivered in an aerosolised form into the abdominal cavity using laparoscopic (keyhole) techniques.


Peritonial Based Therapies

Call us to book an appointment




 

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