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What You Should Eat When You Have Pancreatic Cancer


October 26, 2020 Blog

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of the pancreas. Normally, a pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and produce hormones that regulates blood sugar. Exocrine cells produce the digestive juices, while endocrine cells produce the hormones. Majority of pancreatic cancer starts in exocrine cells, while a small minority begin in the endocrine cells.

Pancreatic cancer often causes digestive issues like bloated stomach, vomiting, and impacts one’s appetite. This is because the affected functions of the pancreas makes digesting food more challenging than normal. Thus it is important to have a good diet plan to maintain good nutrition, combat symptoms, and aid in the treatment journey. Here are some beneficial foods to eat!

Protein-rich foods

Protein helps the body to repair cells and tissues. It also helps to keep your immune system strong. This is important for your body to fight the cancer, recover from treatments, and ensure you do not fall ill with other illnesses. It is also important to eat foods that are easy to digest as pancreatic tumours can affect your digestion. Here are some easy-to-digest protein sources:

  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Tofu
  • Nut butters
  • Beans

Fruits and vegetables

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables provide your body with antioxidants, which helps in your fight against cancer. Cooked vegetables are recommended instead of raw ones. Berries, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are high in antioxidants, fibre and phytochemicals. Here are some options:

  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Eat healthy fats

Avoid eating fried, greasy, and fatty foods, as such foods are difficult to digest and frequently lead to stomach pain or discomfort. Choose foods that are baked, broiled or grilled instead. Healthy sources of fats are needed to help supply your body with energy and maintain body temperature, so here are some foods with healthy fats you should consume:

  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

High-fibre starches

Carbohydrate and fibre help keep your energy up. Fibre plays a big role in maintaining gut health and reducing the risk of developing certain cancers such as colon cancer. It also lowers the glycaemic load of a meal and can improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels. Some examples of high-fibre carbohydrate sources are:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beans
  • Brown rice
  • Wholegrain oatmeal

Drink more liquids

Water and other liquids help in digestion and also reduce fatigue and nausea. You can also try consuming smoothies that contain calories to help maintain your weight. Fluids will aid your body in clearing toxins and waste. It is recommended to have between 6-12 cups per day. To make drinking water more palatable, you can try flavour-infused waters using your favourite fruits, vegetables and herbs!


Choosing the right things to eat will reduce some pancreatic cancer symptoms and also help you stay energised, aiding your fight with cancer. Remember to choose easily digestible foods! You should also consult your doctor or dietitian to work out a plan that will best suit your current needs.


October 19, 2020 Blog

Pancreatic cancer is known to be one of the most difficult cancers to treat, mainly because many cases do not present early symptoms. When present, many pancreatic cancer symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, and general weakness can be easily overlooked as symptoms of other factors. Apart from low awareness of recognising pancreatic cancer symptoms, many people have many misconceptions about the disease, leading to late diagnoses and low screening rates.

To increase your defence against pancreatic cancer, here are some misconceptions about the disease we need to quell.

Myth #1: Pancreatic cancer screenings tests are readily available.

Colon cancer has the colonoscopy, and cervical cancer has the Pap smear, but pancreatic cancer has no one definitive screening test. Instead, pancreatic cancer is usually detected through a battery of tests like MRI or endoscopic ultrasound, and biopsies.

Usually, these imaging and lab tests are only conducted when there are already symptoms present. That is why pancreatic cancer is quite difficult to detect as compared to some other cancers with readily available tests for the general public.

Myth #2: Surgery for pancreatic cancer may cause it to spread to other parts of the body.

In some cases, a patient’s condition may seem to worsen after surgery, or the doctor may find more tumours in the body than originally thought. However, this does not mean that surgery causes cancer to spread.

Pain and discomfort after surgery is normal, and in some cases the condition seems to worsen because of these. When a doctor finds more tumours in the body, it is not that the cancer has spread, but that they might not have detected those tumours in previous imaging tests.

Instead, surgery directly helps to reduce the spread of cancer cells by removing these tissues. Cancer is also not spreadable through the air – it is not like airborne viruses.

Myth #3: Pancreatic cancer is always deadly.

Contrary to what some may believe, pancreatic cancers can be treated. Early detection of pancreatic cancer often leads to successful treatment. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages, during which treatment is known to be most successful.

As a result, pancreatic cancer is often detected only in the later stages, when the cancer has already spread to other areas in the body. At this point, the cancer is difficult to treat even with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Myth #4: There is only one type of pancreatic cancer.

Not all pancreatic cancers are the same, and they should not be treated the same way. There are 2 main types of pancreatic cancer. Most pancreatic cancers are exocrine pancreatic cancer, which affect the exocrine glands and ducts of the pancreas. The other type of pancreatic cancer, making up only less than 5% of cases, develops from the endocrine gland or islet cells of the pancreas.

Knowing the type of pancreatic cancer helps doctors perform more targeted treatments for the particular type of cancer cells and affected tissues.

Myth #5: Pancreatic cancer is strictly hereditary.

Generally, only around 5-10% of pancreatic cancers are from hereditary causes. In these cases, certain genetic mutations are passed down from parents to their children which can significantly raise the risk of the offspring getting pancreatic cancer. By contrast, the majority of pancreatic cancers are due to genetic mutations that occur during the individual’s lifetime.

Other factors that have been found to contribute to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer are old age, obesity, and smoking, as well as health conditions like diabetes.


It is always important to distinguish the facts from myths to better understand the risks and treatments associated with pancreatic cancer. Not only can this help you get a better idea of what pancreatic cancer is and isn’t, but it can also help you educate others about the disease.

Should you find that you are suffering from symptoms similar to pancreatic cancer, it is best to consult a health professional. They can help you to identify any diseases early, and advise you on the next steps to take. By speaking to a health professional, you can further understand more about your health and body!


October 13, 2020 Blog

Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among both men and women. Colorectal cancer, which includes cancers of the colon or rectum, often start as a growth called a polyp, on the inner lining of the colon. It can cause a variety of gut-related symptoms, and endanger one’s health if the cancer spreads to other organs in the body.

Since colon cancer is so common, anyone can be at risk of getting it. However, the good news is, you can lower your risk of colorectal cancer by making the right choices in your diet or lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you keep colon cancer at bay.

Maintain a healthy weight

As you may know, being overweight or obese increases your risk of having serious health conditions like diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer. There are several possible explanations of how obesity raises the risk of getting colon cancer.

Obesity increases the risk for inflammation in the body, including in the large intestines. Increased blood levels of insulin in obese persons can also promote the growth of cancer cells, such as in the colon walls. Obesity is also strongly associated with higher leptin production, which acts as a growth factor to promote tumour growth.

Adopt a high-fibre, low-fat diet

Dietary fats from red meat and processed meat are contributors to the increased risk of colon cancer. High fat consumption will increase the production of bile acids. When large amounts of bile acid is converted to secondary bile acids, this could promote tumour growth. Instead, eating more fibre-rich foods have been found to lower one’s chances of contracting colon cancer. Example of high fibre foods are vegetables, fruits and grains.

Be physically active

Higher levels of physical activity have been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer. Physical activities include walking, running, swimming and many more. Exercise has many positive effects on the body, and lowering the risk for colon cancer is one of them.

Regular physical activity keeps blood insulin levels in check, and facilitates healthy bowel movement, reducing the time that food spends in the gastrointestinal tract. Exercise can also alter the metabolism of bile acids, reducing the risk of bile-acid-initiated colon cancer.

Don’t smoke

Needless to say, smoking is bad for your health. Smoking is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, as well as many other health problems. When you smoke, you are inhaling chemicals and toxins into your body, including free radicals that damage DNA and mutate healthy cells. Free radicals can influence the growth of more aggressive polyps in the large intestines, thus increasing the risk of colon cancer.

Limit alcohol

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of colon cancer. The body metabolises alcohol by breaking it down into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde can damage DNA in colon cells and cause mutations of cells that increases your risk of polyps.


Although colon cancer more commonly affects older adults, smokers, and drinkers, no one is perfectly safe from it. Use these tips to lower your risk, and keep up with regular check-ups and screenings to identify early colon cancer symptoms before it’s too late!


October 8, 2020 Blog

Are you suffering from heartburn or bloating? These digestive issues are common and we often turn to home remedies or over-the-counter medication for these ailments. However, what if the symptoms are an indication of a much more serious condition?

It is important to note that certain gut symptoms and seemingly minor conditions can also lead to more serious gastrointestinal diseases, such as colon cancer. While an occasional gut problem may not always be a sign of a potentially dangerous disease, it is vital to know how your gut problems may escalate or increase your risk for other significant health conditions. Here are 4 common gut problems that can lead to serious health problems that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

You could be experiencing irritable bowel syndrome if you find yourself often feeling bloated and gassy, or consistently suffering from constipation or diarrhoea. Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition of the colon that involves changes to one’s bowel habits.

Some of the factors that cause IBS include inflammation or infection of the gut, stress, or diet. It is important to note that IBS is not life-threatening, but in severe cases, they can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Apart from gut discomfort, other effects include depression and malnutrition.

While IBS does not increase one’s risk of contracting colon cancer, the cancer’s symptoms can be easily mistaken as IBS. Thus, if you suspect you might have IBS, make sure to consult a gastroenterologist for a thorough examination to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

2. Gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining, which can manifest as an acute or chronic condition. Here are a few causes and risk factors of gastritis you should know:

Most cases of gastritis are not serious, but in some cases, can result in stomach ulcers or even stomach cancer. Some common symptoms associated with gastritis are:

  • Indigestion and nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the upper abdomen

You should consult a health professional immediately if these symptoms are accompanied by blood in the stools, or black, tarry stools.

3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

This condition is also known as acid reflux or heartburn, and it describes the condition when food, fluids or stomach acid moves back up from the stomach and into the oesophagus. When this happens, you may feel a burning sensation in or around the stomach and chest area, nausea, and a bitter or sour taste in your mouth.

The leading causes of GERD are smoking, excessive alcohol intake, stress, spicy foods, and other digestive issues. While GERD is not an uncommon issue, it should not go unchecked as it has the potential to cause lasting damage to one’s oesophagus over a prolonged period. Some of these effects include ulcers, scarring, and an increased risk of oesophageal cancer.

4. Indigestion

The most common symptoms of indigestion are bloating, frequent flatulence or belching, and nausea. However, there may also be no symptoms of indigestion at all, apart from dull pain or a general discomfort located in the upper abdomen.

The causes of indigestion can range from excessive consumption of oily or spicy foods, anxiety or stress, to underlying gastrointestinal disorders (such as GERD or ulcers). While the occasional indigestion episode is normal, frequent rounds of indigestion should not be ignored, as these could be symptoms of more serious gut problems. Your doctor may recommend a stool test or endoscopy to diagnose the condition.

Seek help from health professionals

All of the gut problems faced above can lead to serious health issues if they are not properly checked or treated by a health professional. For instance, if you find yourself suffering from pancreatic cancer symptoms and you are unsure, it is best to seek a health professional or a doctor without delay. They can offer you a check-up on these diseases, help you understand more about your health and your body, and recommend treatments for your condition.

Speak to a health professional today and let them guide you towards a healthier you.


September 30, 2020 Blog

A common way to describe a cancer diagnosis is by the stage of the disease. Typically, most cancers have 4 or 5 stages, with a higher number denoting a more advanced state of the disease. In the case of colon cancer, there are 5 stages, starting from stage 0 and progressing to stage 4.

Understanding the stage of cancer of yourself or a loved one is crucial, as it helps you understand what is going on in the body, and what to expect in terms of treatment and recovery prospects. Rather than panic or be misled by misconceptions upon receiving a colon cancer diagnosis, it is always helpful to have a little background information to know how it works.

The TNM staging system

There are, in fact, several different systems for staging cancer. By far, the most commonly used is the TNM system, which stands for Tumour, Node, and Metastasis. To determine how advanced the cancer is, three parameters are considered:

  • Tumour: This is concerned with the size of the primary (original) tumour, and whether or how far it has grown into the affected organ or nearby areas.
  • Node: This refers to whether nearby lymph nodes have been affected by the tumour .
  • Metastasis: The spread of cancer cells to distant sites such as other organs is assessed.

Each of these parameters has their own levels, where a higher number indicates a more advanced condition. For example, T1 means that the tumour has not grown beyond the inner wall of the colon (called the mucosa), while T4 would mean it has completely grown through the wall of the colon.

Using these three areas of consideration, the stage grouping of the cancer can be determined.

Stages of colon cancer

The four stages of colon cancer are described below, with some stages further categorised into A, B or C:

  • Stage 0: In this earliest stage of colon cancer, the tumour has not grown beyond the mucosa.
  • Stage 1: The cancer has begun to grow into the next layer of the colon (called submucosa). At this point, it has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage 2: The tumour has now grown beyond the mucosa and submucosa, but has not yet reached the lymph nodes.
    • Stage 2A: The tumour has reached the outermost layer of the colon, but has not grown through it.
    • Stage 2B: The tumour has completely gone through the colon wall to the visceral peritoneum (the membrane that contains the abdominal organs).
    • Stage 2C: The cancer cells have spread to nearby organs and structures, beyond the colon.
  • Stage 3: In stage 3, the lymph nodes begin to be affected by cancer cells, as they continue to spread.
    • Stage 3A: The tumour has penetrated the colon walls and has reached nearby lymph nodes.
    • Stage 3B: The tumour has penetrated the visceral peritoneum, and can be found in 1 to 3 lymph nodes. Or, the tumour has not gone through the colon walls completely, but is found in 4 or more lymph nodes in the vicinity.
    • Stage 3C: Cancer cells have proliferated beyond the colon wall and can be found in four or more nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: In the most advanced stage of colon cancer, the cancer has spread to distant sites in the body.
    • Stage 4A: Cancer cells have spread to one distant site, for example, the lungs or liver.
    • Stage 4B: Cancer has spread to two or more distant sites.

Treatment for colon cancer by stage

At the different stages, the recommended treatment for colon cancer also differs. Generally, the more advanced the stage, the harsher the treatments need to be.

Stage 0, stage 1: Surgery is usually sufficient to remove the tumour.

Stage 2: Surgery can be performed to remove cancerous cells in the colon. Chemotherapy may be recommended for high-risk or high-grade cases.

Stage 3: The tumour on the organ and nearby lymph nodes can be removed by surgery, before commencing with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be recommended in some cases.

Stage 4: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and occasionally, targeted therapy may all be used in conjunction to treat the disease.

Prognosis for colon cancer patients

Most people regard the stage diagnosis of their cancer as a key indicator of their recovery prospects. Generally, this is true. However, there are also a multitude of other factors that may influence one’s prognosis.

These factors may include one’s age, one’s overall health, and the grade of the cancer cells (i.e. an indication of how much cancer cells look like healthy cells). Also, not all patients will experience the same type of colon cancer symptoms at each stage.

To allay any fears and doubts, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor to understand the situation better. From understanding what’s going on in the patient’s body to getting a gauge of colon cancer treatment costs, your doctor should be able to communicate these important details to you.


September 24, 2020 Blog

Nausea and vomiting are highly unpleasant experiences, but they happen to the best of us for a multitude of reasons, including food poisoning, motion sickness, gastroenteritis (stomach flu), or food allergies. Often, there’s no way to stop vomiting when the body wants to – it is one way by which our bodies eliminate toxins and contaminants. In other cases, nausea and vomiting symptoms may also be caused by anxiety and stress.

However, once the initial bout of vomiting stops, you might be looking for ways to ease nausea, prevent further rounds of vomiting, and regain your energy. For that, here are some suggestions on things you can do to find relief from nausea and vomiting.

Recommended diet

One common issue during vomiting episodes is a loss of appetite. Even if one manages to eat, the body may find it hard to keep the food down. Yet, getting adequate nutrition during this time is crucial, especially when the body is expelling food more quickly than the nutrients can be absorbed. Keeping to these foods may help you gain the nutrients you need when feeling ill:

  • Bland foods

Bland foods like plain biscuits, saltine crackers, and toast are your go-to foods when suffering from vomiting. The bland taste is less likely to put off your appetite, and tend to be more agreeable to the tummy.

  • Ice chips

Sucking on ice chips is a good way to keep your fluids intake in check without drinking too much at once. Consuming too much fluids at one go can trigger more vomiting. Keeping hydrated is crucial to prevent dehydration, especially when your body is expelling liquids during vomiting.

  • Electrolyte drinks

Sports drinks are a great solution for replenishing salts and fluids in the body when you can’t keep other foods down. Like with ice chips, make sure to consume it slowly, such as by taking a sip every few minutes.

  • Herbal tea

Some types of herbs have been found to provide relief for nausea and calm the digestive system. These include ginger, fennel, mint and clove, and you can make them from fresh herbs or using sachets. The warmth and aroma of the teas also provide a relaxing effect which eases one’s mood.

  • Avoid greasy, fried, and spicy foods

Generally, you’ll want to abstain from heavy and strong-tasting foods, as they are often laden with fats, which is difficult to digest and take a toll on your already-compromised digestive system. Spicy foods also aggravate the gastrointestinal tract, so it is a good idea to avoid it for now.

Remedies for nausea

Apart from keeping your diet in check, you can also find relief for nausea with some simple home remedies.

  • Deep breathing

Not only is deep breathing wonderful for keeping anxiety at bay, but it can also relief gastrointestinal symptoms. Taking deep, controlled breaths is especially useful for keeping motion sickness in check, as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

The correct way to perform deep breathing is by breathing slowly through your nose, and feeling your abdomen expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds, before exhaling slowly and relaxing your diaphragm.

  • Acupressure therapy

Popular in Chinese traditional medicine, acupressure massages are thought of as quick and easy ways to relieve common ailments. One point for relieving nausea is located on the wrist.

The point is roughly three finger-widths below the wrist. Placing your thumb at this point on your inner wrist, you should feel two tendons running along your arm. Apply firm pressure with your thumb and move it in a circular motion for 2-3 minutes, and repeat on the other hand.

  • Aromatherapy

Certain smells offer much-needed relief from nausea. Although studies disagree on the effectiveness of this, there is no harm in trying out this simple remedy – all the better if it works for you!

Some scents that have been known to ease nausea are citrus fruits, lavender, chamomile, rose, and peppermint. You can put some essential oils, fresh fruits, or dried herbs in the room to allow the scent to diffuse.


No one likes to prolong the experience of vomiting, so these tips are your key to getting through it as quickly and comfortably as possible. In most cases, vomiting is a minor ailment that recovers within a day. However, if you are experiencing persistent or frequent vomiting episodes, it may signal other underlying conditions. Do consult a health professional to get to the bottom of your symptoms.


September 16, 2020 Blog0

We’ve probably all felt that familiar swell, discomfort, and fullness before, especially after a particularly heavy meal. Stomach bloating is very common and often not a cause for worry.

However, there are days when we feel bloated and we just can’t seem to figure out why. Or perhaps, your bloated stomach symptoms have become more frequent, and you’re not sure what’s causing it. Explore the causes of bloating below to find out what may be causing your bloat.

Why tummies bloat

Your stomach may feel bloated for a number of primary reasons. The bloating sensation may be a result of:

  • Gas: Gas is produced as a part of the natural digestion process. Excess gas that is unreleased can lead to bloatedness. Occasionally, gas may also be introduced by swallowing air.
  • Constipation: Having trouble emptying the bowels can lead to a feeling of fullness and incomplete evacuation.
  • Fluid retention: When the body retains more fluid than usual, it can be experienced as bloating.

While most of us experience the occasional bloat and stomach discomfort, most of these usually go away quickly and do not pose a health threat.

Diets that cause bloating

It is common knowledge that eating certain foods like garlic, onions, and beans leads to a gassy tummy and increased flatulence. This is due to certain sugars in foods, which the body finds difficult to digest. Undigested sugars end up in the large intestine, where bacteria ferments them, producing gas.

These food triggers have a label called FODMAPs, which stands for ‘fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols’. Other examples of FODMAP foods include wheat, rye, legumes, apple, mango, honey, cherry, and lychee.

Aside from the food itself, an individual’s sensitivity to certain foods may also cause more severe bloating. For example, persons with lactose insensitivity or intolerance may bloat more seriously than other persons without, after consuming dairy products like milk or cheese.

High-fat foods are also bloat triggers as they are challenging to digest. In addition, foods high in salt content might lead to water retention, causing not just a bloated tummy, but also general puffiness.

Medical conditions that cause bloating

In some cases, gas, constipation, or fluid retention may also be symptoms of more serious underlying health conditions that warrant a doctor’s examination. The list of conditions that may cause bloating is long, and here are just some of them:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): IBS is a condition where one experiences intestinal symptoms like cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, and bloating, often in combination, for a period of 3 or more months for at least 3 days per month. These symptoms are classified as IBS if they are unrelated to other bowel conditions.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Not to be confused with IBS, IBD is caused by inflammation of the gastrointestinal lining, and includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Bloating may be caused by poor digestion, or in some instances, blockage or narrowing of the intestinal tract due to swelling or scarring.
  • Celiac disease: Persons with celiac disease experience an immune response in their small intestines when they consume gluten. Due to the weakened functions of the small intestine, undigested food ferments for longer in the digestive tract and causes more gas production.
  • Gastroparesis: Usually occurring as a symptom of other conditions like diabetes or hypothyroidism, gastroparesis is the reduced rate of motion of food from the stomach into the small intestine due to weak or damaged stomach muscles.
  • Ascites: This is a serious condition in which fluids accumulate in the peritoneal cavity (the abdominal space which contains the stomach, intestines, and liver). This situation may occur due to liver cirrhosis, cancer, or tuberculosis.


The occasional stomach bloatedness is normal, but in some cases, it can also be caused by underlying medical conditions. In the event you notice any changes to your health, persistent bloating, or bloating accompanied by other symptoms, don’t wait to visit your health professional for a checkup.


September 11, 2020 Blog

In talking about colon health, polyps pop up frequently as a topic of relevance. You may have heard that colon cancer virtually always begins from colonic polyps, or perhaps your doctor has detected some polyps growing in your colon, and you’re now worried about what this means.

What exactly are colonic polyps, and should we be worried about them? Learn more about these growths below.

What are colonic polyps?

Colonic polyps are cell growths that occur on the lining of the colon (the large intestine). They develop due to abnormal cell growth, when cells multiply more rapidly than normal.

Several types of polyps exist. Non-neoplastic polyps, which include hyperplastic polyps, are usually non-cancerous. In contrast, neoplastic polyps such as adenomas and serrated polyps have a greater risk of turning into cancer.

What are the chances of polyps turning cancerous?

The size and type of the polyp influence the likelihood of it developing into cancer.

Generally, the larger the polyp, the higher the chances of it turning cancerous. An estimated 1% of polyps with a diameter of smaller than 1cm are cancerous. This percentage sees a striking jump to 50% for polyps that are larger than 2cm.

Adenomas and serrated polyps present a more significant chance of developing into cancer as compared to hyperplastic polyps. The most common polyps are adenomas, which make up two-thirds of polyps found during colonoscopies. For this type of polyp, about 14% become cancerous after 10 years.

Do polyps cause any symptoms?

Most people with colonic polyps don’t feel any symptoms, which is why many don’t know it until the polyps are discovered during routine screening.

However, some people may experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort similar to colon cancer symptoms, such as:

  • Blood in stools or rectal bleeding
  • Persistent change in bowel habits (e.g. prolonged constipation or diarrhoea)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Nausea or vomiting

How can I screen for polyps?

Routine colonoscopy is where most polyps are discovered. Other colon screening tests may also detect the presence of polyps, including sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, and CT colonography. However, only colonoscopy allows for the removal of polyps.

A stool test like faecal occult blood test (FOBT) or faecal immunochemical test (FIT) can also detect bleeding in the intestines, which may indicate the presence of larger bleeding polyps or colon cancer. A faecal occult blood stool test may not be able to pick up non bleeding polyps or cancer, but this is widely recommended as community colon cancer screening test due it’s cost effectiveness for large population screening. A positive FOBT test requires a follow-up colonoscopy to confirm the presence of polyps.

You are advised to undergo regular screening, especially if you have an increased risk of developing colonic polyps or colon cancer. Some risk factors that may necessitate more frequent testing include:

  • Old age (50 years or older)
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking heavily
  • Personal or family history of colonic polyps, colon cancer or other related intestinal conditions
  • Symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloody stools, or change in bowel habits

Should I remove a non-cancerous polyp?

Most doctors recommend removing polyps even if it’s not cancerous now, this is because colonic polyps will continue to grow over years, and the risk of cancer developing increases the bigger the polyps get.

In many countries, If a polyp is found during a colonoscopy, the doctor usually removes it during the procedure itself. In certain countries, In some instances where the polyp is too large, keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) can be performed to remove the polyp.

After removal, the polyp can be analysed for the presence of cancer cells.


Discovering a polyp might feel alarming, but understanding what it is can help you allay your fears and worries. It is always best to ask your doctor any specific questions you have, be it about the type of colonic polyp you have, or the potential costs of colon cancer treatment. The good news is, with regular screening, polyps can usually be nipped right in the bud before they have a chance to turn cancerous.


September 1, 2020 Blog

There are few things more annoying than getting an upset stomach, even worse if it is accompanied by vomiting or constipation symptoms. When you are stuck with stomach pain or bloated stomach symptoms, the most important thing is to focus on your recovery, so that you can resume your daily activities.

To that end, controlling your diet can be of help. By eating appropriate foods, you can give your digestive system a chance to recover, or even soothe some of the unpleasant symptoms. As such, you need to be smart about your food choices in the face of stomach pain. Here are some foods that you can consider eating when dealing with stomach pain symptoms.

Bland foods

As with most conditions causing gastrointestinal distress, a bland diet can help to smoothen recovery from stomach pain. This diet is also sometimes referred to as the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, apples, and toast.

As these examples suggest, the diet generally consists of foods that are soft, low in dietary fibre, and usually cooked. These include low-fibre fruits, processed grains, lean poultry, seafood, and eggs. These foods are easy to digest and minimise irritation to the digestive tissues.

In contrast, fried and fatty foods are generally avoided, as these can be harder to digest and can irritate your gut. Food that can cause gas, such as broccoli, beans, and chicken skin, should also be avoided to prevent bloated stomach symptoms.

Spices and herbs

Several spices may be able to relieve or reduce stomach pain symptoms. One of the most popular ones, especially in Singapore, is ginger. Ginger has been shown to aid in treating nausea and vomiting, among other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Some studies have shown that pregnant women who took 1g of ginger daily saw a significant reduction in nausea and vomiting. It has also been shown to relieve these symptoms in individuals that underwent chemotherapy or surgery.

Other spices and herbs have been suggested to aid in reducing stomach pain as well. For example, some studies suggest that chamomile supplements could reduce intestinal spasms. It has also been shown to reduce vomiting after chemotherapy treatments. Similarly, peppermint oil has been shown to reduce stomach pain, gas, and diarrhoea in adults with irritable bowel syndrome.

While the studies on these herbs are limited, the herbs are generally safe for consumption in appropriate amounts. As with all supplements, do observe the recommended contraindications and dosage before consuming them.

Probiotic-rich foods

At times, stomach discomfort can be caused by an imbalance of the bacteria in your gut, a condition known as dysbiosis. Eating foods that are rich in probiotics, which are bacteria that are beneficial to the health of your gut, can help to correct dysbiosis. This may relieve symptoms of bloating, diarrhoea, or irregular bowel movements.

One of the most well-known of these foods is yoghurt. Yoghurt often contains live bacterial cultures that are good for the gut. Studies have shown that eating it can reduce diarrhoea and constipation symptoms. Fermented milk beverages like Yakult, Vitagen, and kefir are also convenient sources of such probiotics.

There are several other foods that contain probiotics, such as kimchi, natto, miso, sauerkraut, and kombucha. While the evidence supporting the benefits of these foods on the gut is less robust, it is widely accepted that they are healthy in moderation.


Being stuck with stomach pain may be an unpleasant experience, but you can support your gut on its road to recovery with smart dietary choices. That being said, additional treatment may be necessary if your stomach pain is severe, or lasts for an extended period. In such cases, it would be best to consult a doctor or gastroenterology specialist for professional medical advice.


August 25, 2020 Blog

Diarrhoea can be irritating and inconvenient, but chances are that most people will experience it at some point in their lives. It can be a symptom of several conditions, ranging from allergies to irritable bowel syndrome. But more often than not, it occurs because you ate something that just did not sit well with your body.

In any case, knowing how to manage your diet while you are down with diarrhoea can help you on the road to recovery. Certain types of food can aid your digestive system in regaining its normal function, while others could easily aggravate the condition. Here are some of the foods that you should and should not eat while suffering from diarrhoea.


Your body loses water from passing out watery stools. This makes you especially vulnerable to dehydration. So, it is imperative to drink plenty of water to replace the fluids that are being lost. You can also get hydrated through other fluid-rich foods and drinks. Some of these include electrolyte-enhanced water, weak tea, and clear broths (with grease and oil removed).

Bland foods

When someone has diarrhoea, the intestinal lining may be irritated and inflamed. As such, you will want to be gentle on your digestive system while it is in the process of recovering. For this purpose, experts recommend that you adopt a bland diet.

Here, the ‘bland’ in bland foods does not refer to a lack of taste. Indeed, many bland foods can be quite flavourful. It is actually a term used to describe foods that are easy on the digestive tract.

Bland foods are usually softer in texture and low in fibre. This makes them easier to stomach and minimises irritation to your digestive tract. The low fibre content also reduces bowel stimulation, making the food easier to digest.

One popular example of a bland food diet is the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, apples, and toast. The diet does not only consist of these four types of food; they simply serve as a guideline for the food you should consume. It chiefly consists of bland foods like cooked cereal, plain crackers, and applesauce. As such, the diet can be helpful for those experiencing diarrhoea in the short term.

However, due to the low protein and fat content of these foods, it is crucial to reinclude these nutrients in your diet after recovery, such that you get a well-balanced diet. Other bland foods that you can eat include boiled potatoes, porridge, and skinless baked lean chicken.

Food to avoid

Contrary to bland foods, some foods can travel through your bowels quickly, agitating your digestive system. These foods can worsen your diarrhoea or prolong it. Here are some of the worst offenders:

  • Fatty foods: Some people’s digestive systems have difficulty digesting fried or creamy foods. If the fats are not absorbed normally, they are broken down into fatty acids in the colon. This stimulates the colon to secrete fluid, causing diarrhoea.
  • Dairy products: Many Asian individuals are lactose intolerant. This means that they cannot digest lactose well (lactose being the sugar found naturally in milk). Diarrhoea due to lactose intolerance is usually accompanied by bloated stomach symptoms. In any case, it is best to stay away from butter, cheese, and ice cream while you are recovering.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is a diuretic, which is a substance that causes your body to increase the production of urine, and thus lose water. Considering that you want to minimise fluid loss, avoiding alcohol is advised.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners like Sorbitol can have a laxative effect on some people. They can also stimulate your intestines to produce more water, loosening bowels and triggering diarrhoea.


While diarrhoea will always be an unpleasant experience, you can aid your digestive system in recovering through proper dieting. However, if your diarrhoea persists for an extended period, or you are also dealing with additional symptoms like vomiting or stomach pain, you should see a doctor or gastroenterology specialist for further advice.

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