The purpose of medical screening is to detect
the presence of disease at an early stage in order to effect a cure
or alter the course of the disease for the better. By considering
the family history and the living environment of the individual
it is also possible to highlight any potential for disease. To be
useful, a screening test for a given condition should be able to
discover the condition reliably, and there should be a known benefit
to having the condition uncovered at an early stage.
The National Health Service provides a number
of screening services, but the only screening service that actively
targets all people, in a population at risk, is the cervical
cytology program for the detection of changes that might herald
the development of cancer of the cervix. General Practitioners are
encouraged to carry out other screening tests (for example blood
pressure), but these checks tend to be carried out on an opportunistic
basis when the patient attends the surgery for other reasons, or
when the patient has recently joined the GP's list and is offered
a brief health check.
Your GP will be happy to carry out the most
important screening tests upon request - for high blood pressure,
diabetes and cervical cancer - and these tests will be free of charge.
Your GP may also agree to check for other problems such as high
cholesterol and prostate cancer, but you will probably need to discuss
At IMS we offer 'one stop' health checks where
you can have screening tests carried out along with a look at your
current state of health. It is important to distinguish between
tests which have a predictive value and those that simply show the
state of your health at the time. For instance, if your blood pressure
is raised we can predict that there might be problems attributed
to it in the future, and we know that reducing the blood pressure
will be protective. However, the fact that your Electrocardiogram
is normal today gives us no clue as to whether it will be normal
tomorrow - it can't predict a heart attack.
In an effort to be transparent about what examinations and tests
can show (and can't show), and what they can predict, we have provided
further information on each of the examinations and tests that we
offer at IMS. Click here
to go to that page, or click on the links that you will often see
when a test is mentioned to find out more about that test.