Health Screening

Prevention is Better Than Cure: Why Health Screening is Crucial No Matter What Age You’re At

When life becomes too busy, it’s easy to put health check ups on the back burner. But when it comes to health screening, there’s no benefit in delaying going for one. The reason? Early detection of a medical condition is better than not at all.

These days, there are more cases of younger people getting chronic conditions. People as young as 30 can get diabetes, and by 2035, almost a quarter of Singaporean residents aged 21 and above could have chronic kidney disease.

Cancer as well has been increasing in Singapore with over 84,000 cases reported from 2017 to 2021, according to figures from the National Cancer Centre Singapore.

The thing with cancer is that the earlier it is detected, the higher the chance of cure. Fortunately, advances in treatment means there are higher chances of survival, although one wouldn’t want to be in such a situation in the first place.

Health screening is the most straightforward way to detect any medical conditions so that one can seek treatment and make lifestyle changes as soon as possible. It’s never too early — or too late — to go for a health screening.

Mount Alvernia Hospital offers 11 basic and comprehensive health screening packages for different age groups from 18 years old to above 62.

The Basic 250 package provides height and weight assessment, electrocardiogram (ECG) test, screens for cholesterol, diabetes, Hepatitis A, liver function, gout, and many more.

There are also different types of packages for men and women based on their age group, with more comprehensive tests for age-related diseases such as cancer markers, bone mineral levels, hormone levels and many more.

There is also a Silver Health Screening package for those in their golden years, which tests for a range of conditions including cancer markers for colon, liver, ovarian, pancreatic cancer, microalbumin/creatinine ratio for kidney function, thyroid, bone density, glaucoma and more.

What to expect when you go for a health screening at Mount Alvernia Hospital

Mr Tan Teng Yao, health screening centre manager, explains the health screening process at the hospital.

After booking their relevant package online and setting an appointment date, patients come down to the hospital on their appointment date.

The process is quick: registration at the front counter and confirmation of the package booked, before waiting their turn to see the doctor and go for the scans in their package.

Consultation with the doctor involves a basic physical examination and asking about one’s medical history so the doctor can better understand a patient’s condition and provide a more relevant assessment.

The basic package takes around 1 hour while packages that require more scans can take around 4 to 5 hours. Clinical tests involve taking one’s height, weight, vision and blood tests are done for sugar level, cholesterol, liver and kidney function.

While most people who come for health screening are in the 40 to 55 age group, Mr Tan adds that all ages from 18 upwards are encouraged to be screened.

“Your 40s is when things start breaking down and you start showing symptoms — which is when most people come for screening. Many have high cholesterol while those in the 25 to 30 age range have fatty liver issues thanks to an unhealthy diet.

“I’ve also seen patients in their mid-50s who come for screening and realise they have high cancer markers, and discovered they have stage 2 breast or prostate cancer. Prevention and early detection are definitely better,” he says.

Post-screening screening: What’s next?

Once the screening is done, the doctor will conduct a medical review of the scans and blood tests that have been taken at a follow-up appointment.

If there are results that seem abnormal, the doctor will refer patients to other specialists within Mount Alvernia Hospital for follow up consultation on their specific conditions. Patients have the option to choose if they want to seek out the specialist or return to their own preferred specialist if they already are seeing one.

Health screening is recommended once a year for elderly (age 50 and above) and once every two years for younger people. If you are keen to book a health screening, visit the Mount Alvernia Hospital website to book the relevant package for you.