It’s a new year and a great time to refocus your energy on improving your health to ensure the healthiest life possible. One of the best ways to fulfill this new year’s resolution is to have a screening test done. This is especially important if you are prone to certain illnesses and diseases based on genetic disposition. Taking preventative measures in addressing any potential issues, will keep you armed to tackle whatever life throws at you. Our top-quality medical professionals and health network at MyCare Health Partners is here to help you win and tackle any health challenges that come your way.
At this point, you may be wondering, “what is screening?” The goal of a medical screening test is early detection but is not diagnostic. It is incredibly helpful in minimizing the unclear and ambiguous results but it is not 100% accurate. Still, with the recommendations of your doctor, conducting health screening tests is very effective in identifying risk factors for diseases.
What Is a Medical Screening Test?
A medical screening test allows you to find risk factors early, before the onset of symptoms and while illnesses are easier to treat. They differ from diagnostic tests because the symptoms are still not present during these screenings. They are also used as a follow-up to a positive screening test that has been administered. These tests are very effective in identifying risk factors for an individual or group of people. A patient’s health benefits usually cover different types of screening tests.
Health Screening Guidelines: Pros and Cons
There are numerous types of medical screenings available and each one is used for early detection before the onset of symptoms. The World Health Organization published important guidelines in 1968 on medical screening practices that are still applicable today. These same guidelines were updated in 2008 with the emergence of new technological advances in medicine:
- Screening objectives should be defined in the beginning
- A target population should be identified
- Scientific evidence should be available for the screening effectiveness
- Screening program should integrate education, testing, clinical services, and program management
- Quality assurance should be present, with ways to minimize potential screening risks
- Informed choice, confidentiality, and respect for autonomy should be a part of the program
- The program should promote equity and access for the whole target population
- Evaluation of screening program should be scheduled in the beginning
- Overall benefits of screening benefits should outweigh the harm
- Screening should respond to a specific need
Screening has its benefits. Aside from being an effective preventative measure that can determine the onset of disease or illness, there are many other benefits of health screening tests. Depending on the types of screening conducted, the benefits may vary. However, the following benefits are universal with any screening:
- Early detection prior to any symptoms
- Early detection leads to more effective treatment
- Early detection can help make more informed health decisions
- Reduce the development of disease or complications
- Save lives
It’s important to give the whole story behind health screening. As with any health prevention method, there are limitation and risks you should be aware of:
- These tests are not 100% accurate. You may be informed that you have a disease and you really don’t, leading to unnecessary testing and treatment. This is also referred to as a “false positive.”
- A screening test may fail to detect a health issue, leading to a “false negative” and subsequent testing and symptoms being ignored.
- Some tests can lead to difficult health decisions.
- Discovering a health issue through screening can lead to anxiety.
- Even if the screening does not uncover a health issue, you may still develop one.
Types of Screening
There are different types of screening categories. Universal screening includes everyone in a specific category. Case finding is a screening of a much smaller group of people, based on risk factors. Mass screenings are also used for a specific category regardless of risk status. High-risk screening is conducted on high-risk populations. Multiphasic screening applies two or more screening tests to a specific population at once.
More common types of screening that MyCare Health Partners offer include cholesterol, fecal occult blood, prostate, diabetes, pap smear, mammogram, and colonoscopy testing. These screenings detect different health issues but are all meant to provide preventative measures to ensure a long healthy life. Certain screenings like diabetes, mammography, and colonoscopy testing are recommended for all age groups. These are recommended on a regular basis for persons of certain age groups, that may be at an increased risk of developing health issues.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
If any of these health screening tests look familiar to you, there is a very good reason why. You may have heard of the importance of getting any one of these screenings by your primary care doctor, or have read a variety of articles on the necessity of getting them. MyCare Health Partners provide various screenings for women, men, elderly, and adolescents as part of our general and preventative health programs. Depending on where you are in your health and life journey, our board-certified physicians and top-quality medical professionals can advise you on the right steps to take. Visit our website for more information and schedule an appointment today!