Health screenings are meant to detect health diseases in people who don’t show symptoms. We receive mailings about them and our doctors remind us about them, however many Canadians still ignore them.
The Goal | No Family Doctor | Guidelines Province By Province | Access Screenings Without A Family Doctor
The Goal of Health Screening
Certain diseases have different “risks” or “exposures” that can increase the likelihood of that particular disease occurring.
At the first stage, disease enters the stage of subclinical disease, and the person does not notice symptoms. When symptoms are experienced by the patient the disease enters the “clinical stage”. It’s then that most patients will ultimately seek medical help.
Early detection is equated with better outcomes.
Taking the lead on getting your regular health screenings done can be daunting, but the importance cannot be understated. While exact guidelines differ on a province by province basis, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Healthcare has provided recommendations for the screening of certain diseases.
The criteria for regular health screening is as follows:
- The disease pose a significant threat and impact on health.
- There is an an identifiable period of taking hold without noticeable symptoms.
- Early detection and treatment makes a big difference in outcome.
For these reasons, colon cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer are important, regular health screenings. Additionally, because of its association with coronary artery disease, hypertension should also be tested through regular blood pressure checks. Blood pressure checks are easily done at home with a blood pressure cuff, or at a blood pressure measuring station available at most pharmacies.
Screening Guidelines Province-By-Province
See below for links to screening guidelines for these diseases by province. One thing to note is that in certain cases, increased risk may impact the guidelines for certain diseases. As an example, Ontarians are advised to start screening for colon cancer at age 50, or 10 years earlier than the age their relative was diagnosed, whichever comes first.
Top 5 Diseases for Health Screenings – Guidelines by Province
How To Access Screenings Without A Family Doctor
Here’s how you can access health screenings without a family doctor.
- Telemedicine platforms – Speak to a medical professional from the comfort of their your own home. They will assist in setting up next steps.
- Walk-In Clinics can also provide this service in person.
- Local Public Health Units often hold specialized screening clinics specifically for those who may not have a GP.
- Many provinces have government screening programs you can book on your own via the phone such as Ontario’s Cancer Care program.
Medical professionals rely on much of the same data and recommendations that are now available to the public. Patients can play a significant role in the prevention of certain diseases. Be your own healthcare advocate and get on top of these important health screenings if you’re not already. Your life may depend on it.