Posted: 18 November 2009 2318 hrs

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) will kick-start a colorectal screening programme for Singaporeans over the age of 50 in the next few months.

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said this is to encourage more Singaporeans to screen for this type of cancer.

Speaking at the International Colorectal Congress, Mr Khaw said the screening rate for colorectal cancer in Singapore is currently too low.

Colon or colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in the country, with about 1,500 new cases diagnosed every year.

Only one in nine men aged between 50 and 70 has done a colonoscopy at least once, and for women, the figure is about one in 13.

"We are behind Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the US. One major reason is that 60 per cent of our colorectal cancers are picked up too late and at more advanced stages, leading to poor survival," said Mr Khaw.

– CNA/sc