CategoryHealth & Medical

Endoscopy Singapore: Can Endoscopy Detect Throat Cancer

Throat cancer may be used in reference to cancers that start in your pharynx or larynx. It may also be used in reference to cancers that start in your esophagus or thyroid.

If you depict symptoms that your surgeon suspects may be due to throat cancer, they may recommend exams, including endoscopy, just to be sure. They will also review your medical history and examine possible risk factors, among other medical complications.

Does Endoscopy show Throat Cancer?

To accurately diagnose throat cancer, your physician may recommend an endoscopy in Singapore to view your throat. Read more about endoscopy here: https://www.andrea-digestive-clinic.com/endoscopy/.

For this procedure, they will use an endoscope to view your throat’s images on a color TV monitor and check for any abnormalities. If the doctor discovers abnormalities during an endoscopy, they can pass surgical instruments via the scope to gather tissue samples, and then forward them to the lab for testing.

Is it Painful to do an Endoscopy?

Now, considering that the doctor will have to pass the endoscope through your mouth down into the throat, this procedure may be uncomfortable. It is not usually painful, though, considering that you will be given a local anesthetic to numb your throat region. You may also be given sedative treatments to keep you relaxed, so you don’t feel any discomfort during the procedure.

When should you consider an Endoscopy in Singapore for Throat Cancer?

It is worth pointing out that throat cancer symptoms aren’t the same but vary considerably depending on the part of your throat where the cancer has affected. If you have throat cancer, you’re more likely to experience difficulty opening your mouth, difficulty or pain moving your tongue, persistent coughing, which may sometimes come with blood, headaches, and nose bleeds.

You should consider an appointment with a qualified endoscopist for an endoscopy to detect throat cancer you experience any of these symptoms;

  • Swallowing Complications: If you have throat cancer, you may experience eating complications, including pain in your throat when swallowing or a burning sensation. You may also feel that the food can’t move freely, and possibly getting stuck in your throat.
  • Development of a lump on your neck: You should not overlook a lump that develops on your neck. It may be a sign of a swollen lymph node. Swollen lymph nodes are a major sign of throat cancer. Swollen lymph nodes may also indicate cancers of the neck and head region.
  • Persistent sore throat: If you get a sore throat that doesn’t seem to get better even with OTC medications, you may need an appointment with your doctor for an endoscopy in Singapore to check for throat cancer. Persistent sore throat is one of the most common telltale signs of throat cancer.
  • Weight loss: The weight loss may majorly be due to swallowing complications due to pain in your throat or food getting stuck in your throat.
  • Vocal changes: Other people also experience vocal changes, which may include having a huskier voice, experiencing difficulty when pronouncing some words, or even slurred speech.

Just like other common cancers, throat cancer is also easily managed when detected early. Therefore, it is important that you don’t overlook the symptoms described above; especially if they do not go away for more than 21 days. An appointment with an endoscopist for endoscopy in Singapore to check for throat cancer is even more important if you experience any of the symptoms and have any of these throat cancer risk factors;

  • If you’ve been exposed to asbestos due to its carcinogenic nature
  • If you’re living with Plummer-Vinson syndrome
  • If you’re aged 65 years old or more
  • If you heavily consume alcohol
  • If you eat a lot of processed meat with limited or no vegetables and fruits in your diet
  • If you’ve been exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus
  • If you’ve been exposed to the human Papillomavirus and
  • If you have a substandard dental hygiene

What Questions should you ask your Doctor about Endoscopy for Throat Cancer?

If you schedule an appointment for an endoscopy in Singapore to check for throat cancer, it is prudent that you have open and frank discussions with the endoscopist who will be helping you with the procedure. A good endoscopist won’t mind answering your questions, irrespective of how minor you may think the questions are.

Therefore, you shouldn’t shy off asking any question about the procedure. Here are a few helpful questions you can keep in mind when scheduling an endoscopy appointment in Singapore.

  • How much experience do you have performing endoscopy in Singapore?
  • Are there any special preparations I need to be aware of before the test?
  • How long will this assessment last? Will I need someone to take me home after the endoscopy?
  • Will I need an endoscopy follow up? If so, after how long?
  • Are there any risks about this procedure that I should be aware of? If so, how can I avoid them, or can you recommend a reliable source of information and support that may benefit me?

Over to You

We have been performing endoscopy procedures for over a decade in Singapore. With a dedicated team of endoscopists in our ranks, you can be assured of a dedicated, custom service to address your needs or concerns. For more information or clarification needs, please, contact us to select a date for your consultation.

 

Andrea’s Digestive, Colon, Liver, and Gallbladder Clinic
101 Irrawaddy Rd
Royal Square at Novena, #21-11/12
Singapore 329565
6264 2836

STD Test Singapore: How often should you get tested?

If you are a sexually active individual, knowing your STD status is one of the foolproof ways, you can give yourself peace of mind. Other than knowing your status, having an STD test in Singapore can help you detect infections early, even before the symptoms appear.

This would help ensure that you get appropriate treatments early and avoid scary long-term complications like infertility. Here’s a deep dive on what you should know about STDs, STD screening in Singapore, and the STD testing procedures in Singapore: https://healthclinicgroup.com/std-testing/

Should you get Tested Every Partner?

Note that STDs can affect anyone regardless of whether you’re sexually active or not. Usually, most people don’t know when they’re at risk; therefore, they would not tell when they’re sick accurately.

As a basic rule, therefore, it is prudent that you get tested every partner for STDs. Here’s why;

It doesn’t really matter whether you or your partner is still a virgin. There is a handful of STDs that can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, for example, syphilis.

Other STDs like herpes are known to affect even virgins and can be transmitted from one person to another by just touching an open herpes sore. A significant percentage of people who have oral herpes get it during childhood from relatives, parents, or caretakers through casual shows of affection like being kissed.

How often should you get tested in a Relationship?

When it comes to having an STD test in Singapore when you’re in a relationship, the frequency of getting tested usually depends on the type of relationship you’re in. For instance, if you are not in a monogamous relationship and continually have unprotected sex, you will frequently need HIV tests than when you’re in a monogamous relationship.

You will also need yearly tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Here are a few more guidelines that would still apply for you when in a relationship;

When Pregnant

If you’re pregnant, you will need to get tested for hepatitis B, HIV, and Syphilis. You will need these tests from the onset of your pregnancy and repeat them as recommended by your sexual health expert to protect your health and that of your infant.

Risky Lifestyle

If you share injection drug equipment with anonymous or multiple persons you will need to be screened for HIV at least once each year. The same would also apply if you share sex toys or have unsafe sex.

If you’re a sexually active bisexual or gay man

If you’re bisexual and gay, you will need frequent HIV tests. Most preferably, you’d benefit from regular screenings after every 3 to 6 months. On the same note, you will also need to be tested for gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia at least once each year. However, if you have anonymous partners, the testing for gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia may need to be more frequent. It would be better to repeat the tests after every 3 to 6 months.

If you’re a woman who’s sexually active and under 25 years

If you’re younger than 25 years, you can benefit from regular gonorrhea and Chlamydia screenings each year. If you’re also 25 years and above, you will need routine screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea at least once each year if your sexual partner is living with HIV.

How long do STD Tests Last?

When you contract an STD, your body will not recognize it outright. It will need some time to recognize and respond to it by producing antibodies to that disease.

The period from when you contract an STD to the time its symptoms appear is known as the incubation period. When you schedule your STD test in Singapore too early before the incubation period elapses, the results you may get from the tests may not be accurate even if the disease is already in you.

It is also worth pointing out that the incubation period varies considerably between STDs. Depending on the one you’ve been exposed to, there are instances where it may take several months or even years for the symptoms to manifest themselves.

However, the good news is that with an STD test in Singapore, you will not necessarily have to wait for the symptoms to show up. These tests usually test for the STD antibodies in your system to determine whether you’re infected or not.

In regards to when you can be tested for an STD, there are different incubation periods you may need to observe for a test can reveal accurate diagnostic results. Your sexual health specialist will always recommend a test depending on the time of exposure to disease and the STDs they suspect you could have been predisposed to.

For instance, if there’s a risk of HIV infection, the test would be recommended between 2 to 4 weeks from the time of exposure. For gonorrhea, a test would be necessary between 1 and 14 days after exposure, and for chlamydia, the test may be appropriate between 7 and 21 days after exposure.

Over to You

As a general rule, it is prudent that every adult, including adolescents.  Get screened for HIV at least once in their life. If you suspect that there’s chance you may have been predisposed to an STD, get in touch with us today to schedule an STD test in Singapore.

 

The Health Advisory Clinic
One Raffles Place, #04-49
1 Raffles Place, Singapore 048616
(+65) 6226 6442

What causes problems and disorders with the thyroid?

We have several glands throughout our body responsible for creating and releasing substances. An important gland is the thyroid gland. It is a small organ located in front of the neck around the windpipe, and makes hormones that help control many vital functions in our body.

As such, when there are issues with your thyroid, it can impact your whole body. Problems such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are issues that arise when your body makes too much and too little thyroid hormone respectively. Both are serious and require medical attention. Thomas Ho Surgery is one of the general surgeons in Singapore who performs thyroid surgery.

What do thyroid hormones do?

Thyroid hormones control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where food you consume is converted into energy. This energy is used by your body to keep many of your systems working correctly. Think of metabolism as a generator — it takes in raw energy to carry out tasks and do something bigger.

The thyroid controls metabolism with a few hormones, mainly thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These two hormones tell our cells how much energy to use. If the thyroid is working properly, it will maintain and achieve the right balance to keep your metabolism working at a normal rate. As hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacement.

All this is supervised by the pituitary gland, a gland located below your brain that monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones produced in your bloodstream. Every time there is a lack or excess of thyroid hormones in your body, the pituitary gland will adjust the amount with a thyroid stimulating hormone.

What is thyroid disease?

Thyroid disease is a medical condition that occurs when your thyroid is unable to make the right amount of hormones. There are two types of thyroid disease: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

When the thyroid makes excessive thyroid hormone, your body uses up energy very quickly, resulting in hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism makes you feel easily tired, your heart beats faster and you lose weight for no reason. Other symptoms include:

  • Experiencing nervousness and irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing muscle weakness and tremors
  • Having irregular menstrual periods
  • Having eye problems

On the other hand, when the thyroid makes too little thyroid hormone, you gain weight and get cold easily. This is called hypothyroidism. Other symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Frequent and heavy menstrual periods
  • Dry and rough hair
  • Hair loss

What causes thyroid disease?

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be caused by diseases that impact the way the thyroid gland works and produces hormones.

Conditions that cause hypothyroidism:

Thyroiditis

This condition is a swelling of the thyroid gland that causes your thyroid to lower the amount of hormones produced.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

This is an inherited autoimmune condition that causes the body’s cells to attack and damage the thyroid.

Postpartum thyroiditis

This occurs in 5-9% of women after childbirth and is usually temporary.

Iodine deficiency

Iodine is a mineral essential for the thyroid to produce hormones. Those with iodine deficiencies tend to suffer from thyroid problems.

A non-functioning thyroid gland

The thyroid gland can sometimes fail to work from birth, but this affects about 1 in 4000 newborns. If left untreated, the child could grow up with physical and mental issues. Thus, it’s important that all newborns undergo a blood test to check their thyroid function.

Conditions that cause hyperthyroidism:

Graves’ disease

This is a condition that occurs due to an overactive thyroid gland that produces too much hormone. Patients with this condition tend to that enlarged thyroid glands.

Nodules

Hyperthyroidism can be caused by overactive nodules within the thyroid.

Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis occurs when the thyroid releases stored hormones. This disorder can either be extremely painful or possess no symptoms at all. It can last for a few weeks or up to a few months.

Excessive iodine

Too much iodine causes the thyroid to make more thyroid hormones than it should. Excessive iodine can sometimes be found in cough syrup.

Who is at a higher risk of thyroid disease?

While thyroid disease can affect anyone, it can particularly develop as you get older. A woman is also five times more likely to get a thyroid condition compared to a man.

Other factors that put you at risk of developing thyroid disease include:

  • A family history of thyroid disease
  • A medical condition such as type 1 diabetes, lupus, pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, Turner syndrome, primary adrenal insufficiency and Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Being older than 60 years of age, especially for women
  • Having received treatment for a past thyroid condition

Specifically, those with type 1 disease have a higher chance of developing a thyroid disease. This is because type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder — if you have one autoimmune disorder, you’re more likely to develop another one. Those with type 2 diabetes have a lower risk; but the risk is still there.

Regular testing for thyroid issues is recommended. The ideal frequency is immediately after the diabetes diagnosis and then once a year.

 

Thomas Ho Surgery
Mount Alvernia Hospital
820 Thomson Road #01-03 Medical Centre A
Singapore 574623
6261 8311

What to Know About HIV Testing and Treatment in Singapore

Many in Singapore fear taking a HIV test due to the stigma attached to it. However, it’s important to understand that HIV screening is an important step in maintaining sexual health, and doing so early leads to better treatment and a lower risk of contagion. Here’s all you need to know about HIV testing in Singapore and what to do pre and post exposure.

What is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells responsible for helping our body fight infection. It destroys CD4 lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that protect us against bacteria and harmful pathogens. Once infected, patients are more vulnerable to diseases and infections, and are at a higher risk of developing some cancers.

How is HIV transmitted?

In Singapore, over 400 new HIV cases are diagnosed every year. Unprotected sexual intercourse remains the primary mode of transmission; however other ways in which HIV is spread include:

  • The sharing of HIV-infected needles and other piercing instruments used for tattooing or acupuncture
  • An infected mother spreading the disease to her baby during pregnancy, at birth, or through breastfeeding
  • The receiving of infected blood through blood transfusions or donations

HIV, however, is not spread through social and physical contact such as touching and hugging as well as the sharing of food. Mosquito bites do not count either.

How do I know I have HIV?

The best way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. HIV symptoms also typically do not appear for many years upon infection. Some symptoms include fever, fatigue and swollen glands but are often dismissed as the common flu, followed by a clinically latent period where there are no symptoms at all. This can last up to 10 years, and during this period, patients may be spreading the disease around unknowingly. In Singapore, under the Infectious Disease Act, it is an offence for an HIV-infected person to engage in activities that may encourage the spread of HIV.

How do I get tested for HIV in Singapore?

Testing for HIV in Singapore can be done at almost any health provider or clinic. There are two main ways for HIV testing to be done — a conventional laboratory-based blood test which will take up to 2 weeks waiting time, or through the use of a rapid HIV test kit which will take just 20 minutes for results to be out. Should you wish to remain anonymous, there are currently 10 clinics in Singapore that offer anonymous HIV testing.

Get the full list here.

How much does a HIV test cost in Singapore?

The cost of getting tested for HIV in Singapore ranges from $10 to $150. Generally, rapid testing at Anonymous HIV Testing centres will set you back about $50-150. Local organisation Action For Aids also provides anonymous HIV testing for $10-$20. Testing can also be done at polyclinics in Singapore. However, these are usually lab-based and will take a longer waiting time. They are also not anonymous and must be reported to the Ministry of Health.

Is there a cure for HIV in Singapore?

There is currently no cure for HIV. However, there are treatments and medication available in Singapore to help suppress the virus if detected early. Patients who seek treatment for HIV early go on to lead healthy and normal lives and are also expected to have a near-normal life expectancy.

Additionally, patients may also wish to consider HIV PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and HIV PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), which we will explain about further.

What is HIV PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), and how does it work?

PreP

HIV PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a drug prescribed to individuals who are at higher risk of getting HIV in Singapore. Research has shown that when administered daily, the drug significantly reduces the chances of contracting HIV by nearly 99% from sexual intercourse with HIV-infected partners and 74% from injections.

However, HIV PrEP is not a free pass to engage in unprotected sex — since PrEP only offers protection against HIV, it is highly advisable to still use condoms to protect yourself against other sexually transmitted diseases.

Is PrEP a vaccine for HIV in Singapore?

No, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis does not act as a vaccine. What it does is to prevent both the spread and occurrence of HIV in your body. As mentioned, it’s for individuals at a higher risk of contracting the disease, such as those with HIV-positive partners.

Am I suitable for PrEP?

Generally, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is recommended for those with multiple sexual partners and those with a HIV-positive partner and want to conceive. The drug can prevent both you and your foetus from contracting HIV during the pregnancy and during breastfeeding.

Should you wish to consider taking Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, do consult a healthcare professional.

For those who have been exposed to HIV recently, it is advisable to take Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.

What is HIV PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)?

HIV PEP, or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a short term antiretroviral treatment used to reduce the likelihood of HIV in Singapore. It’s particularly used after potential exposure to the virus, either through sexual intercourse or accidental exposure. It is not meant to replace conventional HIV-prevention techniques, such as safe sex and the use of sterile needles during injections. As such, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis is only intended for emergency use and not for routine use.

When must I administer PEP?

The sooner, the better. It is mandated that the Post-Exposure Prophylaxis must be administered within 3 days (72 hours) after a potential HIV exposure. Following which, the medicine must be taken consecutively for 28 days.

However, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis is not a 100% guarantee against HIV, and HIV-prevention measures must still be in place even when you are on prescription. Further, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis may not work if you fail to take the medicine soon enough or inconsistently.

Am I suitable for PEP?

You should consider Post-Exposure Prophylaxis if you’re HIV negative and in the last three days:

  • Had sexual intercourse with a HIV-infected person
  • Was sexually assaulted
  • Was exposed to contaminated needles or blades
  • Suffered an eye splash injury
  • Was exposed to body fluid, ulcers, semen or sores with someone of HIV-positive or HIV-unknown status

Before using Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, always speak to a doctor. It’s important to note that if you are HIV-positive and are unaware, using Post-Exposure Prophylaxis may increase the risk of HIV developing resistance to the medication.

So with that said, a HIV test is required before getting access to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.

 

DBClinic
290 Orchard Road #14-10
Paragon Medical Centre
+65 67337122

Gingivitis Treatment — What You Should Know

Gingivitis is a leading periodontal disease that affects many Singaporeans as well as many people around the world. It is caused by bacteria, resulting in the swelling of the gums. People with gingivitis will notice blood when flossing.

While gingivitis will go away on its own over regular brushing of teeth, left untreated it can lead to periodontitis and tooth loss. As soon as you notice that your gums are swollen and inflamed, it is important to visit a periodontist for gingivitis treatment.

The different type of gingivitis

There are two main types of gingivitis. These are:

Dental Plaque – causes of this type of gingival disease include malnutrition, plaque, certain medication, and systemic factors.

Non-plaque induced gingival lesions – a bacterium, fungus or virus can cause this type of gingival disease. Illnesses and even genetic factors could also contribute to it.

Causes of gingivitis

Teeth with dental plaque

Of all the various causes of gingivitis, the most popular and most common is plaque accumulation between and around the teeth. This causes the body to produce an immune response which can ultimately cause it to destroy gum tissue. Furthermore, this can lead to teeth loss.

But what is dental plaque?

This occurs naturally around the teeth. The main culprits are bacteria trying to attach themselves to the smooth part of the teeth.

However, these bacteria have a useful function as they can prevent other types of bacteria and microorganisms from taking over the mouth. Unfortunately, they will also cause periodontal problems including tooth decay.

Plaque needs to be controlled through regular brushing of teeth. Otherwise, it causes tartar or calculus which forms at the base of the teeth resulting in yellow colouring. When it reaches this stage, it cannot be removed through brushing. Your only choice is to go to seek the services of a professional.

If left untreated, the plaque and tartar will cause irritation around the gum which will lead to the inflammation and swelling of the gums.

Some other causes of gingivitis include:

Hormonal changes – significant hormonal changes occur during puberty, menstruation, and menopause or during pregnancy. This could cause sensitivity in the gums which increases the likelihood of gingivitis.

Genetics – people who have one or both parents affected by gingivitis are at a higher chance of getting gingivitis.

Certain diseases – diseases such as HIV, cancer, and diabetes are connected with a higher risk of developing gingivitis.

Smoking – smokers are at higher risk of developing gingivitis when compared to nonsmokers.

Certain medication – some medications that may cause less saliva resulting in gingivitis and overgrowth of gum tissue.

Malnutrition – lacking sufficient vitamin c in your diet has been linked to developing gingivitis.

Age – older people are more likely to develop gingivitis compared to younger people.

The symptoms of gingivitis

People who have mild cases of gingivitis will often not experience any discomfort in the mouth. However, common symptoms include:

  • Tender and inflamed gums that are painful when touched
  • Swollen gums
  • Bright red gums
  • Bleeding after flossing or brushing
  • Receding gums
  • Soft gums

Diagnosis of receding gums

If you notice any of the above signs and symptoms it is important that you visit a periodontist in Singapore. They will conduct an oral examination and check for signs of calculus, plaque or tartar.

They will also check if you have periodontitis as well as examining the pocket depths between your teeth and gums.

Treatment of gingivitis

Dentist checking teeth condition of man

If the periodontist catches your gingivitis in its early stages, it can offer medication and treat it completely. Note that the treatment process will usually be a joint effort between you and your periodontist.

The periodontist will begin by removing the tartar and the plaque. If you have sensitive gums then this can be a bit uncomfortable. However, the procedure is necessary in order to completely remove the tartar.

Note that the periodontist may require you to make several visits in order to completely remove the plaque in a process known as scaling.

Furthermore, the doctor will advise you on the proper way to observe oral hygiene to prevent further development of plaque.

If you have damaged teeth, it is important that you get them fixed. Note that dental issues could also play a part in the development of plaque and could make it more difficult to clean it such as having crooked teeth or poorly fitted crowns or bridges.

As for the patient’s role in all this, you must ensure that you clean and brush your teeth at least two times a day. It is also important to floss teeth once every day to remove any food particles between the teeth. For those hard to reach areas, a good solution is to rinse the mouth with antiseptic.

When looking for a periodontist, it is important to get treatment from one who has many years of experience such as Dr Marlene Teo. They can offer quality treatment and mitigate the risks associated with gingivitis.

Final Thoughts

Gingivitis is a common gum disease that affects many Singaporeans. It can lead to periodontitis if left untreated. This is why it is important to understand the signs and symptoms and to see a periodontist immediately you notice that you have any of these. Luckily it can be treated resulting in healthy-looking teeth.

 

Dr Marlene Teo
360 Orchard Rd, #03-06/07 next to Lido,
International Building, Singapore 238869
+65 8588 9868