9 June 2022
Lets talk about screenings…
What health screenings should you have and how often?
We all know that when we’re feeling sick, we need to go to the doctor. But increasingly we’re being encouraged to go for tests and seek medical advice even if we don’t feel ill. Preventative medicine is an approach to prevent disease through seeking advice on how to live more healthily. This is growing in popularity in occupational health, where specialists are now providing more and more workplace health and wellbeing support, to encourage good health by focusing on lifestyle issues. GPs are also being asked to recommend lifestyle changes or support with things like quitting smoking, losing weight, or managing stress, as all of these issues are recognised as causing serious health problems in the long run.
Alongside the increased awareness in the preventative medicine approach is the growing trend for regular health screenings to spot any signs of issues, before they develop. Routine health screenings are an excellent way to keep on top of any health complaints that may worsen with age, or to spot the signs of common diseases and issues before any symptoms start showing. These include cancer, diabetes, heart problems and blood pressure. If caught at a very early stage through health screenings, cancer is easier to treat and issues such as diabetes and blood pressure can be controlled or even reversed through lifestyle changes.
At the Specialist Medical Clinic in Gibraltar our GPs have a strong emphasis on preventative health care and we offer a wide range of health screenings. These screenings not only enable us to catch issues early, but also put patients’ minds at rest and help them take control over their health and wellbeing. In this article, we want to run you through what health screenings are available and how often you should be getting checked. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or make an appointment with your GP.
Well Person Checks
After the age of 21, we recommend that our patients start to monitor their health and check everything is as it should be through annual well person checks. We offer different packages for men and women, as their needs are very different, as are their approach to seeking medical help. What they both have in common is that they are like a MOT for your body, checking everything is running as it should and identifying any markers that you should be concerned about. During these appointments you can also discuss lifestyle changes that would be beneficial, as well as ask general questions you may have, or to share concerns that you may not have discussed before.
Our well woman health checks include –
- A one-hour consultation and examination with a female GP
- Calculating your BMI and body fat composition
- Blood pressure assessment
- Checking your heart and lung function
- A breast, abdominal and gynaecological examination
- Blood tests to check for cholesterol, liver and kidney function
- Checking for early bowl cancer through a stool sample
- Urine analysis for blood, glucose or protein
- A second consultation to discuss results, provide a written report and give lifestyle advice or recommend medication or referral to other specialists
Our well man checks are designed for men and created with an understanding that seeing a doctor or talking about health problems isn’t always comfortable for men. You can be guaranteed discretion, patience and understanding. The checks and tests you need will depend on your age and health, but may include
- BMI calculations
- Blood pressure tests
- Cholesterol check
- Testicular exam
- Heart and lung function checks
- Blood, urine and stool analysis
- Prostate screenings from the age of 50
Unfortunately, cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and 1 in 2 people will contract cancer in their lifetime. However, cancer treatments have come a long way in recent years and if caught early, most cancers can be treated and survival rates are high. Nonetheless, the later the diagnosis, the less options are available and the worse the prognosis will be, which is why cancer screenings are so important, whether it’s part of a wider well person check, or as individual tests.
For women we recommend annual smear tests, and regular screening for breast, bowel and lung cancer. For men we recommend annual prostate cancer screening and regular bowl and lung cancer screenings. The regularity of these screenings will depend on age and family history, so please contact us to discuss what is right for you, or book an appointment with your GP.
Breast Cancer Screenings
Women should regularly check their own breasts for early signs of cancer. If you’re not sure how to do it, there’s a great NHS guide you can download. If you find a lump, or are experiencing breast pain it is really worrying, so you should make an appointment for a breast cancer screening right away. This screening will check whether it is benign or cancerous and whether any changes are normal, or need further investigation. Most lumps, bumps and changes are nothing to worry about, but our experienced breast clinician can make sure everything is OK, and advise you on next steps and any treatment required. Women over 50 should also have a mammogram every two years, and those with a history of breast cancer in the family, should start earlier, so speak to your GP about when it’s right for you to start having breast cancer screenings.
Prostate Cancer Screenings
Prostate cancer is common among men, with 1 in 12 men getting it in their lifetime. However, many men with prostate cancer won’t need treatment because it grows too slowly, whereas others require treatment to stop it spreading. Risk factors including being over 50, having a family history of prostate cancer or being black. Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer include urinary problems such as a difficulty starting to urinate, a weak flow, a feeling your bladder hasn’t fully emptied and a need to urinate more often. However, early prostate cancer is often symptom free, which is why it is so important to have annual prostate cancer screenings from the age of 50. If you have family history of prostate cancer we recommend it from the age of 45. It is tested through a PSA blood test which checks your Prostate Specific Antigen levels. If these levels are abnormal, further tests can be conducted to rule out or confirm prostate cancer and recommend treatment.
Having regular health screenings can save your life and they should become part of your healthcare routine. If you want to start taking steps to protecting your health, make an appointment with your GP to ask them about health screenings and what they recommend for your age, sex, lifestyle and family history. You can also find out more about the health screenings we offer on our website, or contact our helpful team for advice.