Colorectal cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Singapore, which makes regular screenings for it extra important. Early detection is key to effective colon cancer treatment, a higher chance of recovery, and a better quality of life.
In their efforts to make colorectal cancer screenings more accessible to Singaporeans, the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) has partnered up with pharmacies and clinics around Singapore to give out free screening kits. Recently, gutCARE has also officially tied-up with the SCS in this initiative, and we will be offering these free screening kits at all of our clinics!
Want to know more about this screening kit? Below are some quick things you need to know:
What is this screening kit for?
This screening kit is for the Faecal Immunochemical Test, a non-invasive screening method that helps to detect colorectal cancer. It is a preliminary test that detects the presence of trace amounts of blood in your stools. If there is blood found, it may indicate the presence of polyps or cancer.
Who is this test for?
The Singapore Cancer Society is making FIT kits available free-of-charge to individuals with higher risk of contracting colorectal cancer, namely, older persons. You are eligible to collect a FIT kit if you:
- are a Singaporean citizen or PR
- are 50 years old and above
- haven’t done a FIT in the last 12 months
- haven’t done a colonoscopy in the last 10 months
You should take the test even if you don’t display any symptoms, as many cases of early colorectal cancer don’t come with symptoms. However, noticing any emerging symptoms of colorectal cancer is even more reason for you to take the test. Some common colorectal cancer symptoms include:
- Blood in stools (might look like bright red or dark-coloured stools)
- Bloated stomach
- Persistent, unusual bowel movement (diarrhoea or constipation)
- Sensation of incomplete bowel movement
- Recurring abdominal pain with unknown cause
- Rapid weight loss with with unknown cause
- Persistent fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
Apart from age, some other factors put individuals at higher-than-average risk of developing colorectal cancer as well. Some of these factors include:
- Moderate to heavy alcohol use
- Diet high in processed foods and red meat
- History of gastrointestinal diseases (e.g. colon cancer, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease)
- Family history of colorectal cancer
If you feel that you are at a high risk of getting colorectal cancer, but are not eligible for the FIT kits, do consult your doctor for alternative options.
How does the test go?
Unlike other methods of colorectal screening that will require you to visit a clinic or hospital, FIT can be done in the comfort of your own home.
All you have to do is use the FIT kit probe to poke into your stool to collect a sample. After sealing the specimen back into the given kit, fill in your particulars on the reply slip and mail it together with the FIT kit to SCS.
You will have to collect and send a second sample on a separate day, within 7 days of the first. This ensures more reliable results.
Once you have sent out both kits, the stool specimen will be tested at the lab. You will receive the results by post in about 6-8 weeks.
How do I collect my FIT kit?
If you are eligible for the free FIT kit, and would like to get tested, simply head to any participating clinic or pharmacy with your NRIC or passport and request for the kit. You may also collect a kit on behalf of your family member if you present their NRIC or passport. Every eligible person is entitled to one kit per calendar year.
For a full list of participating outlets or more information about these FIT kits, you can head on to SCS’s official website to learn more.