Julian Ong On The Causes And Staging Of Colon Cancer

 “Before we go on to the causes and the different stages of Colon Cancer, we need to spend some time understanding the possible symptoms associated with the condition,” says Dr Julian Ong.

Dr Julian Ong Kian Peng is a Colorectal Surgeon whose expertise lies in surgery for perianal conditions, as well as laparoscopic (“key-hole”) and open techniques of colorectal surgery, in addition to his sub-specialty expertise in advanced minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as single-port, and robotic-assisted surgery, Dr Julian Ong is no stranger to the varying levels of colorectal issues he had seen.

“Symptoms that may suggest the presence of colorectal cancer is blood or mucus in the bowel movements. Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite, if you have complaints of abdominal pain or bloating if you find that your bowel habits have changed such as constipation or diarrhoea in recent times, a sensation of incomplete evacuation of your bowels. If you have a history of anaemia or sudden fatigue that you can’t explain,” elaborated Dr Julian Ong.

What are the causes

Dr Julian Ong explained that whilst there is no one specific course of colorectal cancer, there are, however, many risks factors which have been identified over time which may increase a person’s chance of developing colorectal cancer over their lifetime.

“Possible risk factors for colorectal cancer include older age, a diet high in animal protein such with the fats and calories, a diet low in dietary fibres, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight or obese, a family history of colorectal cancer, a history of inflammatory bowel disease as such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, women who particularly have had breast, ovarian or uterine cancer, and also a personal history of colorectal polyps,” explained Dr Ong

Dr Ong also added that there is also about 10 per cent of colorectal cancers which are inherited cancers. This occurs in young patients with conditions such as familial adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), and hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal cancer.

What are the stages

Dr Ong explains that there are 4 stages of colon cancer, with Stage 1 and Stage 2 being localised stages of cancer.

Whereas, Dr Julian Ong expanded that at Stage 3 and Stage 4, there is an element that the cancer has spread to distant organs.

“Stage one cancer is growing into the inner wall of the colon or rectum. And the tumour has not reached the outside wall of the colon yet. Stage 2, cancer has invaded deeply into the wall of the colon or rectum, it may have already reached outside of the colon and may even have involved some part of the nearby organs but has not spread to any other organs or the nearby lymph nodes. Now at stage 3, the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and that is when we start to consider these more advanced cancers. Stage 4 cancer; not only has it spread to lymph node but also spread to other distant organs such as the lung or the liver,” explained Dr Julian Ong as he showed us the model of the colon he has on his desk.

Dr Julian Ong’s practice address is;

HC Endoscopy & Piles Centre

Blk 710A, Ang Mo Kio Ave 8,

#01-2629, Singapore 561710


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