Screening tests and exams are performed for those who are not known to have a particular condition or illness. Screening, in medicine, is a strategy used in a population to identify an unrecognized disease in individuals without signs or symptoms. This can include individuals with pre-symptomatic or unrecognized symptomatic disease. As such, screening tests are somewhat unique in that they are performed on persons apparently in good They need to be distinguished from tests or exams for those where there is a reason to do a particular test, as those are not really screening of normal risk persons. They also need to be distinguished from follow up exams, done to see how a particular condition is behaving over time.
For instance, an average 60 year old woman might be advised to have a mammogram at regular intervals to screen for breast cancer. However, a 60 year old woman who had breast cancer 3 years ago, or who has a sister who had breast cancer at an early aged, might be advised differently, as she is not at average risk.
Therefore, if there is reason to think that your risk is different than average, guidelines meant for average risk individuals need to be adjusted to take into account medical judgment. The guidelines we will give will apply to “average individuals.”
DESPITE GUIDELINES, THERE IS ENOUGH INDIVIDUAL VARIATION TO PERMIT ONE TO FOLLOW ONE’S OWN PLAN IN CONSULTATION WITH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TO PICK THE BEST APPROACH FOR YOU. IT IS OUR ROLE TO HELP GUIDE PROPER DECISION MAKING WHEN IT FALLS OUTSIDE OF THE USUAL RECOMMENDATIONS. IN MEDICINE, ONE SIZE MAY NOT FIT ALL.
WHEN SHOULD I STOP SCREENING?
In general, we would stop looking for a condition if finding it is unlikely to produce any benefit. This may be because of advanced age, other conditions which would make treatment not feasible, limited life expectancy, or a person’s decision in advance that if the condition were found they would not undergo any treatment for it.
While many guidelines advise to stop screening after a certain age, some may wish to continue to have tests for a variety of reasons