Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pro-Perâ„¢ Way to Stay Healthy: Age and Gender Appropriate Screening Tests

A proactive approach to staying healthy includes undergoing certain screening tests from time to time. These screening tests have been shown to save lives and improve quality of life in a given population.

Screening tests are the tests devised to detect a disease in the early stage. For a test to be offered widely to persons of certain age and gender, it should meet some criteria including:

- The test should look for the disease that is a common problem in a certain population. For example, life time cumulative risk for breast cancer for women is 10% and life time cumulative risk for colon cancer is 6%. These numbers justify screening for these two diseases.
- The screening test should be easily doable.
- An effective treatment should be available for the disease we screen for.
- An early detection by screening should make appreciable impact on survival or quality of life.

Before we go any further, it is very important to understand following points regarding screening tests:
- These recommendations are for people who are at average risk for common diseases. A person at high risk may need to be screened more often or at an age younger than that recommended.
- Effective screening tests exist for certain uncommon diseases. These may not be offered to general population. However, they save precious lives when used in selective cases.
- The screening test recommendations can change from time to time. Different agencies may even have differing views on the same screening test at a given time.
- For the reasons given above, these important screening tests have to be carried out under the guidance of a health care professional.

The recommendations given here in tabulated form are based on information from agency for healthcare research and quality (AHRQ) website and US preventive services task force
Want to know what screening tests you should undergo? Click here


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