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Screening tests help your doctor look for certain diseases before any symptoms appear. Often, the earlier a disease is diagnosed, the more likely it is that it can be cured or successfully managed. When you treat a disease early, you may be able to prevent or delay problems from the disease. Treating the disease early may also make the disease easier to live with.
Regular screening tests and checkups can help you stay healthy. Talk with your doctor whenever you have concerns about your health.
When and how often you get screening tests may depend on your age, your sex, your health status, and your risk factors. In some cases, testing is done as part of a routine checkup.
Your doctor may suggest screening tests based on expert guidelines. Sometimes different expert panels make different recommendations. In these situations, talk with your doctor to decide which guidelines best meet your health needs.
You also may need some screening tests earlier or more often if:
When you are thinking about getting a screening test, talk with your doctor. Find out about the disease, what the test is like, and how the test may help you or hurt you. You may also want to ask what further testing and follow-up will be needed if a screening test result shows a possible problem.
Ask your doctor about the limits of the test and treatment. For example:
Also think about what you would do if a test shows that you have the disease. For example, if you are going to be tested for osteoporosis, are you willing to take medicine or make lifestyle changes if the test shows that you have it?
All provinces offer newborn screening, although the tests offered vary from province to province. These tests can help find serious problems that could affect your baby's long-term health. Your doctor will check your baby's vision, hearing, height, and weight, among other things.
Many types of screening may take place at routine visits when your child is 2 to 12 years old. These tests include checks for developmental and behavioural problems. Your doctor may also do vision and hearing checks.
Screening for your 13- to 18-year-old child may include checks for school and behavioural concerns, blood pressure, and hearing. Checks for cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and tuberculosis may also be done.
Adults may have a number of screening tests, such as tests for heart attack and stroke risk and certain cancers. Your doctor can help you determine the tests you may need and how often to have them.
Adaptation Date: 8/15/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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