If you’re a man 55 or older, which of the available screening tests are worth considering?
(If you’re unsure of how ‘screening’ is defined, it means trying to detect a potential health concern in people who DO NOT have symptoms.)
That depends on a couple of factors. One is how strongly the available evidence supports the use of a specific test.
A second is what matters most to the person who’s contemplating whether or not to undergo that test.
Figuring out that part involves weighing what we know about the potential benefits versus the possible harms. That’s because two people can look at exactly the same statistics, and come to very different conclusions.
That said, there are a handful of screening tests that most medical experts agree are worthwhile.
My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so kindly shared their time and expertise:
- Dr. Neil Bell, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and one of the writers of ‘Prevention in Practice’ a series of articles featured in Canadian Family Physician.
- Dr. Roland Grad, an associate professor at McGill University and the Herzl Family Practice Centre at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, and a former member of the Canadian Task Force for Preventive Health Care.
- Dr. Rajul Jain, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto; co-chair of the Canadian Cardiovascular Harmonized National Guidelines (C-CHANGE) Committee, and family physician and hospitalist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
- Dr. Ashraf Sefin, a family physician with the Grandview Family Health Team in Cambridge, Ont., vice-chair of the CPSO (College of Family Physicians of Ontario) Quality Assurance Committee; and assistant professor at the McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Hamilton, Ont.
- Dr. Henry Yu-Sin Siu, an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Enhanced Skills in the Care of the Elderly at McMaster University and medical director of the Stonechurch Family Health Centre in Hamilton, Ont.
Photo by CDC Courtesy of Unsplash