Singapore, 31 August 2019 – Two years ago, service technician Rizal Bin Saibi noticed a change in his bowel habits, including an inability to empty his bowels completely at times. The 45-year-old also often felt full and bloated even after a light meal, and lethargic after a good night’s sleep. When Mr Rizal found blood in his stools in May 2019, he sought medical attention at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) where he was advised to undergo colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy, a procedure to detect colorectal cancer through the examination of the rectum and lower bowel costs about $1,000 after government subsidies to perform.

For Mr Rizal, who is supporting two children through tertiary education and his elderly mother-in-law with medical needs, the amount is hard to bear. However, he does not qualify for MediFund, the government’s safety net for needy patients who can’t pay subsidised healthcare charges. 

To help Mr Rizal and other patients like him, the Department has set up the SPRUCE (SGH Preventing Rectal and Colon Cancer through Endoscopy) Fund to coincide with its 30th anniversary this year. The Department hopes to raise $300,000 through this initiative to help an expected 300 patients over the next three years. 

“Colonoscopy is an important examination, in particular for those aged 50 and above, to prevent or detect colorectal cancer early. The SPRUCE Fund is our Department’s way of giving back to the community that we have been serving since 1989,” said Associate Professor Emile Tan, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Colorectal Surgery, SGH.

“With the support of partners and generous donors, we are able to start helping patients in need this year. We hope more individuals and companies can be part of this meaningful initiative by contributing generously to the Fund.” 

To mark the launch of the SPRUCE Fund, 50 men and women will undergo a colonscopy at SGH’s Ambulatory Endoscopy Centre. Ten colorectal surgeons from the Department will perform the procedures.