Screening involves undergoing examinations and tests in order to find those at increased risk of a condition, or detect the early stages of disease before the emergence of any symptoms. It is a highly effective and beneficial process as early detection of disease allows early treatment and often a better prognosis in the long term.
Screening tests are tailored to those most likely to benefit from them. If you get a negative result it means you are at low risk of developing the condition being screened for at the time of screening. If you get a positive result it means you are either at high risk of developing the disease being screened for or have the early stages of the disease. This will then lead to further tests being carried out to confirm the diagnosis and a course of treatment put in place to stop disease progression or in some conditions provide a cure.
Screening tests, however, cannot predict your future risk of developing a disease so need to be carried out on an ongoing interval basis.
There are national screening programmes currently available for target populations in the UK. These include –
● Cervical cancer screening
○ for women between the ages of 25 and 49 – 3 yearly
○ For women between the ages of 50 and 64 – 5 yearly
● Breast cancer screening
○ for women between the ages of 50 and 70 – 3 yearly
● Bowel cancer screening
○ for men and women between the ages of 60 and 74 – 2 yearly
Additionally there are screening programmes carried out in special circumstances only – such as pregnancy, or as part of looking after someone who already has a health condition – such as eye screening in diabetic patients.
However, there are many diseases that are not currently screened for on a national level and some individuals as a result of family history, lifestyle choices or genetics may be at increased risk of developing some of these conditions.
The vast majority of people would benefit from a more individualised approach to screening which can be achieved through a health screen.
There are a wide variety of packages available ranging from a quick check up to a more comprehensive review of all aspects of your health.
These are able to address specific health concerns, for example sexual health screening or detect common conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid conditions, heart disease, hormonal imbalances, and some cancers.