Symptoms = Advanced colon cancer

Why should I get a colonoscopy at age 45?

Statistics show the majority of new cases of colon cancer worldwide occur in patients aged 45 years and older. Most patients—men and women—had already experienced symptoms by the time they sought diagnosis, and their cancers had reached an advanced stage. Studies have also found that risk factors for colon cancer are directly related to age:

  • In younger patients, the chance of having colon cancer is less than 10%
  • Between the ages of 40-50, the likelihood of colon cancer increases to 20-30% 
  • For those aged 50 and over, the chance of a diagnosis increases to 30-40%

90% of colon cancers start out as polyps in the colon.  Adenoma polyps are considered precancerous and can develop into cancer within 3-5 years. Therefore, if found during a colonoscopy, the doctor will immediately remove polyps smaller than 3 centimeters. If no polyps are found during the examination, the GI doctor will recommend you return for another test in 5-10 years.

*According to the American Cancer Society, February, 2021

A Team of Expert Doctors and AI Technology from Japan

Samitivej Hospital has partnered with Sano Hospital in Japan, a facility world-renowned for its expertise in the removal of large polyps in the colon and early detection of gastric cancer using gastrointestinal endoscopy techniques. Since 2015, doctors from Samitivej’s Liver and Digestive Institute have traveled to Japan to train in colonoscopy and surgery, while doctors from Sano Hospital have come to Thailand to share their knowledge and conduct case studies on Samitivej patients.

At present, Samitivej is using AI technology in colonoscopy, along with NBI techniques from Japan which help double the accuracy rate in diagnosis.

Symptoms = Advanced Colon Cancer

For general illnesses, patients usually see a doctor when they experience abnormal symptoms. When it comes to colorectal cancer, however, patients often do not notice any symptoms, or their symptoms may be similar to those of other gastrointestinal disorders. As such, patients often think there is nothing to worry about. Symptoms include changes in the digestive system, alternating diarrhea and constipation, unexplained weight loss, weakness or fatigue, paleness, blood in stools, and chronic stomach pain, especially in the lower abdomen, any of which could be symptoms of colorectal cancer in stages 2-4. 

Under Samitivej’s “We Don’t Want Anyone to Get Sick” campaign, data showed that 97% of patients were unaware that they were at risk of colorectal cancer at the age of 45 and over, had never had a colonoscopy before, and thought that they should wait till they noticed symptoms before coming to see a doctor. As doctors, therefore, we want to spread awareness that any patients age 45 and over who meet the screening criteria should come to the hospital to undergo a colonoscopy. If a patient has any family history of colorectal cancer, a colonoscopy is even more urgent as this type of cancer can be hereditary.

Don’t wait until you have symptoms, because symptoms = Cancer has spread

Testimonial from colonoscopy patient

My father, Samuth Nuchnart, came in for a consultation with Dr. Pitulak Aswakul because he was experiencing tightness and bloating. The doctor recommended that he undergo both gastroscopy and colonoscopy, but due to him being 80 and having never undergone anything like that, he told them he didn’t want to do it as he was afraid of what might happen. She therefore recommended alternative treatment in the form of medication aimed at treating his symptoms for around one week which, while it helped a little, did not completely relieve him of his problems. The doctor was then able to convince him to carry out the procedure and at first it all looked so simple but then… Read more

I’m interested in having a colonoscopy. What should I do?

Patients must first see a doctor and provide their personal medical history, such as information about any medical conditions, drug allergy history, regularly taken medications, etc. The doctor will then provide information on how to prepare for the colonoscopy and will answer any questions and concerns. Upon deciding to undergo a colonoscopy, one of our nurses will help make an appointment. 

If you would like to make an appointment with a doctor to consult about a colonoscopy, or if you would like to request more information or inquire about insurance claims, please fill out the information below or email us at info@samitivej.co.th and our nurse will contact you to make an appointment.

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Related information: Why should I get a colonoscopy at the age of 45? | Stop colorectal cancer in your family with genetic testing for cancer | Colon cancer surgery with laparoscopic colectomy (minimally invasive surgery) | Treating colon cancer with targeted therapy

Stop colorectal cancer in your family with genetic testing for cancer

 

While most colorectal cancers are due to abnormalities on an individual level, approximately 5-10% are hereditary.  These cancer genes, however, may or may not exhibit as cancer; this is dependent upon the physical condition of each person.

Research studies have shown that those who have a family history with two or more first-degree relatives with colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, rectal cancer, etc., or who have one first-degree relative who was diagnosed with colon cancer under 50 years of age, should undergo a colonoscopy to screen for any abnormalities that could develop into a malignant tumor or cancer. The recommended age to commence screening is calculated by subtracting 10 from the age of the affected family member at the time they were diagnosed with colon cancer. The resulting number represents the age at which the first screening should be carried out. For example, if a father was diagnosed with colon cancer aged 50, his offspring should undergo screening beginning at age 40 and should not wait until they experience symptoms, as those who fit within the above criteria are considered to be more at-risk than others.

As a leader in Precision Medicine, Samitivej Hospital currently provides state-of-the-art genetic testing, using advanced technology that allows you to be proactive in your healthcare by screening for genetic abnormalities in the body. This screening method has detection accuracy rates of up to 90% and is used to test for a wide range of cancers. It is beneficial for:

  • Cancer patients who wish to know of any abnormal genes that may pass increased cancer risk to their offspring. These test results can also be used to help create a specific, targeted treatment plan.  
  • Direct relatives of cancer patients who wish to know of any abnormal genes that they may have inherited from their parents in order to take preventive measures. The age range for direct relatives suitable for screening is as follows: 
    • First-degree relatives aged 12 years or older in a family with a history of FAP cancer 
    • First-degree relatives aged 20 years or older in a family with a history of HNPCC cancer
  • Healthy persons aged 20 years and older who wish to know of any abnormal genes that they may have inherited from their parents in order to take preventative measures for the future.

To learn more about our colon cancer genetic screening programs, click here

To schedule a consultation with one of our doctors to discuss genetic testing for cancer and how to prevent colorectal cancer in your family, click here

 

Related information: Why should I get a colonoscopy at the age of 45? | Stop colorectal cancer in your family with genetic testing for cancer | Colon cancer surgery with laparoscopic colectomy (minimally invasive surgery) | Treating colon cancer with targeted therapy

 

Colon cancer surgery with laparoscopic colectomy (minimally invasive surgery)

Until recently, colon cancer surgery was limited to colostomy in order to identify and remove the portion of cancerous colon. Such a procedure often caused anxiety in patients as they worried about not only the cancer treatment itself, but also about the price of the surgery as well as after effects and rehabilitation. Fortunately, laparoscopic colectomy techniques now available allow for less invasive surgeries, involving inserting a high powered microscope camera into the abdomen via a tiny abdominal incision. The tube on which the camera is mounted also carries a tool capable of removing the cancerous section of the colon, including any affected nearby lymph nodes and blood vessels. The side effects of such a procedure are minimal. Rehabilitation times are quick while costs are low when compared with colostomy, which takes longer to carry out and results in lengthy, expensive rehabilitation times.

Colorectal Surgeons (Colorectal Surgery Specialists)

What are the costs for colon cancer surgery with laparoscopic colectomy and can my insurance cover this? Click here.

Samitivej has a team ready to help and provide services for:

  • Treatment Plan Consultation with a doctor via online video-call (second opinion)
  • Treatment Planning if you have medical records or a price estimate from another hospital
  • Cost Planning by our Appraisals Team with price guarantee (only for procedure packages without complications)
  • Check Initial Coverage Eligibility with Thai and international insurance companies (only for insurance companies in contract with the Hospital)

 

Related information: Why should I get a colonoscopy at the age of 45? | Stop colorectal cancer in your family with genetic testing for cancer | Colon cancer surgery with laparoscopic colectomy (minimally invasive surgery) | Treating colon cancer with targeted therapy

 

Treating colon cancer with targeted therapy

Samitivej is delivering precision medicine to help in the fight against cancer by utilizing medication that specifically targets harmful cancer cells and leaves other cells undamaged. The response rates of such treatments are as high as 80%, compared to regular chemotherapy treatments which typically offer 30% response rates.  

Conventional treatments

There are currently a number of cancer treatments available which can be used alongside one another to offer the best chance of success. The three main forms currently used are surgery, radiation therapy and medication or chemotherapy. Their use depends entirely on the stage which the cancer has reached.

In cases of early stage cancer, surgery offers the best opportunity to successfully remove the cancer because the cancer cells will not yet have spread to other organs. Surgery in such cases is the recommended way to halt the cancer in its tracks and ensure that the patient has the best chance of making a full recovery.

With regard to late stage cancer (stage 4), which has typically spread to other organs in the body, a course of chemotherapy is generally administered. Such treatment involves destroying all cells in a certain area with the aim of eradicating the disease, as it is hard to tell where the cancer may be hiding. However, such destruction means that it is not only the cancerous cells which are affected, but all cells including healthy ones. The side effects of this type of treatment include hair loss, mouth ulcers and exhaustion, resulting in anxiety for cancer patients when chemotherapy is mentioned as a potential method of treatment.

Targeted Therapy Treatment

Targeted therapy is an extremely useful asset in the fight against cancer due to its 80% response rate, as compared to chemotherapy’s 30% response rate.

The benefits of targeted therapy are that the treatment is highly specific, while side effects are relatively low. Elderly cancer patients who may not be strong enough to undergo a course of chemotherapy can be treated with greater efficacy than was previously possible.

Targeted therapy as a form of treatment for colon cancer comes in the form of intravenous medication and orally administered drugs. Available oral medications include Regorafenib, which is suitable for cancer patients who have not responded well to other types of cancer drugs. Intravenously administered targeted medication comes in various forms, and is used alongside chemotherapy to provide a 50% greater possibility of successful response to treatment than was previously possible. In cases where the cancer has spread to the liver, the use of chemotherapy drugs in conjunction with targeted medication can increase the chances of successful treatment by up to 50%, resulting in a 5-year longer life expectancy for colon cancer sufferers.

Treating cancer successfully with targeted therapy medication relies upon accurate and highly detailed screening, carried out by specialist oncologists. Because each individual patient’s symptoms differ greatly from one another, their treatment must also be flexible enough to suit their individual needs. Precision medicine is therefore utilized because of its ability to treat cancer cells specifically, leading to greater efficacy and better results. 

Medical Oncologists (Colorectal Cancer Specialists)

Can colorectal cancer targeted therapy be covered by my insurance? Click here.

Samitivej has a team ready to help and provide you with the following services:

  • Treatment Plan Consultation with a doctor via online video-call (second opinion)
  • Treatment Planning if you have a medical records or price estimate from another hospital
  • Cost Planning by our appraisals team with price guarantee (For procedure packages without complications only)
  • Check Initial Coverage Eligibility with Thai and international insurance companies (for insurance companies in contract with the Hospital only)
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