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Not everyone is aware, but colorectal cancer is one of the few types of cancer that can be treated when detected early. But like most cancers, the symptoms are so subtle that the condition is often ignored until the disease has progressed.

Look out for the symptoms of colorectal cancer.
The symptoms of colorectal cancer will resemble other diseases of the bowel such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Some patients do not even notice that their constipation or diarrhea is a symptom. As the disease progresses, however, the symptoms become more severe and persistent and it becomes difficult to determine if you have colorectal cancer when you already have an existing bowel disease.

Some symptoms of colorectal cancer include diarrhea, constipation, changes in shape and size of the stool, bloody stool, inability to empty the bowel completely, rectal pain, abdominal pain, stomach cramps or gas pains, changes in appetite, sudden weight loss, feeling full or bloated, and fatigue.When the cell lining of the large intestine develops cancer, it causes blockages and results in bloody stool.

Get to know the function of the colon and the rectum.
Colorectal cancer, sometimes called colon cancer, affects the colon or the rectum. The colon is part of your large intestine, while the rectum is a passageway that connects the anus to the colon. The rectum is the last part of the large intestine, which is only 15 cm long, and its location makes it highly likely to spread the cancer cells to other organs. Taking care of your large intestine through healthy diet and lifestyle can lower the risk of having colorectal cancer.

Get diagnosed when you feel the symptoms.
If your family has a history of any type of cancer or you have a history of ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease, you should be screened annually because you’re at risk of developing the disease than most people. Most cases of colon cancer start off as abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum called polyps. These should be removed to prevent them from becoming cancerous.

Most people affected by this cancer are aged 50 years and above, although are cases among young adults who have inherited conditions such as non-polyposis and familial adenomatous polyposis. Among the male patients in Singapore who suffer from cancer, colorectal cancer is the most common form, while it is only second to breast cancer among female cancer patients.

Several screening methods are used to diagnose colorectal cancer such as rectal examination, sigmoidoscope/colonoscope exam, and barium enema.

Know the available treatments for colorectal cancer.
Sometimes when the cancer cells spread from the colon to the lymph nodes near it, treatments are quite successful in hospitals in Singapore through surgery and chemotherapy. Treatment becomes difficult, however, if the cancer cells have spread to the other organs.

Surgery, such as the removal of the fat, lymph glands, and the cancer, is the first form of treatment. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy might also be recommended.

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  • Filed under: General Health
  • What are Bunions?

    A bunion is known as a hallux valgus among doctors and is a type of deformity in the base joint of a big toe. Not only does it make your feet look uneven, it can also cause pain, swelling, and discomfort especially when you’re wearing the wrong shoes.

    Causes of Bunions
    Most doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of bunions in most patients with the condition, but they can locate where the deformity is. The big toe is angled towards the next toe, causing a bump to form on the side of the big toe’s base. As a result, the tissues and the skin surrounding the deformed joint, called the metatarsophalangeal joint or MTP, becomes thick. In some cases, a bursa or a sac filled with fluid forms on the joint. The joint deformity is called hallux valgus, causing the bones of the big toe to push the other toes due to its sideways angle. “Hallux” is a Latin word which means big toe, while “valgus” refers to the action of turning away from the body’s midline.

    Some doctors point to genes as a determining factor, while others are the result of joint problems like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The condition can run in families especially if most of the members have feet with low arches, loose joints, have flat feet, or have loose tendons. The structure and shape of the feet, such as the roundness of the metatarsal head,can also increase the risk of getting bunions especially if you’re not wearing the right footwear.

    Bunions in most women, however, are the result of repeatedly squeezing their feet into narrow, pointed-toe footwear that sometimes even come with high heels. This habit can put pressure on some parts of the feet especially the joints in the toes, because the body’s weight is pushed forward.

    Bunions also tend to develop among people whose occupations require hours of standing and walking.

    Treatment of Bunions
    The symptoms of bunions include pain, difficulty walking, inflammation of the base of the toe, infection of the toe, widening of the foot, difficulty finding shoes that will fit and feel comfortable, arthritis on the big toe, and deformation of the second toe.

    Some people ignore bunions, but it’s important to get it treated because the MTP is supposed to help the feet distribute the weight of the body evenly. Ignoring the pain can lead to other more serious problems in the future, such as hammertoes, corns, foot impairment, ingrown nails, bursitis, and misshapen joints.

    The simplest way to get rid of the pain is to wear comfortable shoes that are flexible, wide, and have correct support for the feet. You can also ease the pain with occasional cold compresses or the use of bunion pads and shoe inserts.

    The doctor might also recommend that you take over-the-counter painkillers to ease the swelling. For people with other joint conditions or those who suffer from severe pain, prescription-strength drugs are recommended, while some cases require physiotherapy and surgery.

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  • Filed under: Health and Wellness
  • With the internet and digital storage, you may think that having a traditional photo album for your cherished memories is a thing of the past. But having a physical album that you can flip through someday when you’re old and grey is something else, and nothing can truly replace that.

    Don’t know how to make your special wedding album? Fret not – here are some tips you can get from us.

    1. Avoid overcrowding each page.
    Though you may think that there should be spaces enough for all those hundreds of photos you took on your photoshoot, less is more. Give each page about two to three photos so that each photo could have its own voice.

    Having too many photos can confuse your eyes and make you dart around the page too quickly because they compete for your attention. This ends up with none of them getting the attention that they deserve and the story gets lost in the process.

    2. Embrace the negative space.
    Part of not overcrowding your photos includes the negative space. This is what gives each picture the focus that they need so that your eyes will linger on each one. It’s also much easier to design each page when there are fewer pictures that compete for your attention.

    3. Minimize fluff (and pick only your absolute favorites).
    There’s sure to be dozens of pictures that your photographer has taken during the wedding, but they may feel a little repetitive. Each spread should have its own theme or portray one particular event. Pick the best three or four that showcase each theme or event, and place them in the page.

    You should also take it easy with the spreads. Much like magazines, albums are made up of spreads that relate to each other by content or style, and helps to connect the album as a whole. If it helps, think of it as the “poetry” of the album, where is just as important as the order.

    4. Keep it clean and simple.
    Take it from us: the elegant/minimalist/“clean and simple” design is the only design that’s guaranteed to stand the test of time. You can add extra graphics, photo layering, and even fading to your photo album, but keep in mind that design trends are exactly that – trends – and they come and go with the years.

    However, if you do decide to add graphics to your wedding album, make sure that they also share the same theme as the pictures themselves.

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  • Filed under: Weddings
  • Wedding photography is perhaps one of the biggest investments that couples make in every wedding. It’s one of the first things to be prioritized and hiring a photographer (or a studio) can be quite expensive.

    But now that the wedding is over, what do you do with your photographs? Of course you need to get them printed and save a back-up in a flash drive, but what do you do with them afterwards?

    Well, you’re in luck. Here are a few creative ideas on how to use your wedding photographs:

    1. Cards
    Why not turn your favorite wedding snapshots can into great thank-you cards and holiday cards? Personalized greeting cards can be great for giving to friends and family on different occasions to remind them of the happy couple on their special day.

    Be sure to talk to your photographer if you’re not sure which pictures to choose.

    2. Calendar
    You can also make your gifts a lot more personalized by turning them into calendars or photo books. Take the opportunity to customize and have fun when choosing photos and grouping them together.

    Be sure to use artsy shots for your calendar or photo books, such as close-ups of your dancing shoes or your bride-and-groom fingers if you want a great shot of you showing off your rings.

    3. Art
    Don’t let the digitals sit on your hard drive! Print them instead and put them on display – one advantage to professionally taken pictures is that the high quality allows for them to be enlarged and hung on the wall like the works of art that they are. Before you go ahead and print the pictures that you want, be sure to take inventory.
    You won’t need to have a museum, but a chosen few favorite memories of the most special day of your life will be sure to lift you up and put a smile on your face whenever you look at them, especially when you’re having a bad day.

    4. Traditional Photo Albums
    And lastly, who could forget the traditional photo album? Though they’ve become a thing of the past these days because of the internet and digital storage, there’s just nothing like flipping through snapshots of memories that you can cherish for a lifetime.

    Whether you opt for special leather-bound albums to give to your wedding guests as memorabilia or have one made just for yourself, a physical album is something you won’t regret having – and you can even pass it down to the next generation as an heirloom.

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  • Filed under: Weddings
  • Are you planning to celebrate white Christmas and explore the winter wonderland outside Singapore? One of your plans is probably to go skiing. To be sure that you’re first run is going to be fun, here are some basics to keep in mind before hitting the snowy slopes.

    1. Pile on layers and layers of clothing
    Beginners tend to under-dress, leaving them freezing and miserable—instead of having fun—skiing in the snow. To get yourself comfortable in the cold, pile on layers of clothing. Start with a body hugging base that’s made of polyester or merino wool for your top and bottom to help trap warmth and wick away any moisture. Over the base, layer a looser clothing—a turtleneck, shirt, vest or a sweater—that allows air to freely flow in and out. Skip the cotton layers for your top and bottom. They aren’t warm and stay wet forever if you’re sweating inside.

    2. Drink a liter of water every two hours
    Skiing at high altitudes, where cold air is extremely dry and oxygen is reduced, makes you lose twice as much fluid from your body just by breathing—and consider you’re breathing heavily when doing extreme activities like skiing. Expert skiers and trainers always stress out to drink at least a liter of water every two hours. It may sound a lot, but at least try to chug down two glasses of water every time you eat something. If skiing for more than two hours, we recommend rehydrating with sports drink.

    3. Warm up by doing some stretches
    Don’t start stiff. Just like any other exercise, the more flexible you are, the more you’ll decrease chances of injury. Do not just bend left and right. Make big moves while you’re doing something. When walking, try doing walking lunges to stretch your legs, hamstrings and hips. Extend your arms and rotate your shoulders to prep them up for arm works later on.

    4. Learn from the experts
    Unless your beau or your friend is an expert skier or is a ski trainer, you’re likely to pick up their bad technique if you let them teach you. Taking it from the experts ensures that you’ll get off to a good start. With a professional instructor, you’ll be able to work on your strengths and deficiencies. Some of the advices you’ll probably hear from your trainer are the placing of your weight for better control and balance and how far should you be looking ahead to avoid surprises while skiing.

    5. Slather on plenty of SPF
    It might be winter, but the sun is still as strong as summer. Before skiing, make sure to slather some sunscreen that offers an SPF of 30 or higher. Pay special attention to areas of the body that’s exposed to sunlight, such as your face, neck and the nape of your neck.

    Spending Christmas in winter wonderland isn’t complete without a skiing. Make sure your first try is a fun and memorable one with these tips.

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  • Filed under: Recreation
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