health screening

just been for my annual scolding at the GP; yes I'm over weight; yes I know it; yes I'm sure at my age it has implications; yadda yadda yadda. 

Then we got onto health screenings. I was offered several, but I don't take them up on the offer. Despite what a lot of the medical profession seems to think, death is inevitable, and I am going to die of something; why not let it be a surprise? They can't sure everything, and having watched someone die of an incurrable disease, I'm not sure I'd want to know what fate had in store for me in that regard. 

Possibly a bit off an eccentric view, I know, and possibly not well transferred to text. Do you knpw what i mean, or am I off at the deep end?

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Comments

  • But what if they find something that they could cure and don;t so you die decades before you should and miss your family, grandkids etc all growing up ?

     

    (ps I don;t go to screenings either !)

  • My instinct says the same HL, but I usually give in and get the screening done eventually.

    I guess for me the question is whether I am prepared to change my lifestyle depending on the results, and to be honest, I'm not.  I live a fairly healthy life, eercise, eat properly, don't smoke, drink in moderation and I have no plans to change that.

    I reluctantly go for tests such as smear tests where early detection might make a difference, but don't see any point in me wasting NHS money on things like cholestrol tests.

  • I think I know what you mean image

    For me it would depend on what the screening tests were for. If it's something I can't influence in anyway, either by changing my lifestyle/taking a medication, then I probably wouldn't want to know. Although if I did know, it might make me live my life differently... but whether the changes were positive (making the most of life, living every day, etc. etc.) or negative (taking up drinking, being reckless...) I don't know! 

    If the screening tests were for something I could influence, I'd want to know. I was screened for a breast cancer gene which runs in my Dad's side of the family. I had to go through genetic counselling beforehand, just so they could make sure I'd be able to 'cope' with the results. The test was negative, although the geneticist was convinced there's a gene on my Mum's side too, so warned me I'm high risk anyway. Like you say - you have to die of something. But I'd like to think I do what I can to reduce my risks.

  • I am a big fan of screenings at work - mainly to get the substantial discount off my gym membership. But the first one I went to diagnosed a seriously high blood pressure reading (even after a year of running, and substantial weight loss). Weight might be one thing, but blood pressure is the 'silent killer': really no observable symptoms. I presume other health issues may also be like this: only picked up by a proper screening. Take your point about everyone has to go, but I want it to be as late as possible.

  • As Dave says, if they found something which could be cured more easily if found early,it would surely be better than not knowing and then having to have radical treatment, or it being too late altogether?

    Do you avoid smear tests?  Not much fun, but could save your life.  Same thing with breast screening.

  • Wilkie wrote (see)

    As Dave says, if they found something which could be cured more easily if found early,it would surely be better than not knowing and then having to have radical treatment, or it being too late altogether?

    Do you avoid smear tests?  Not much fun, but could save your life.  Same thing with breast screening.

    As in sadly dead aged 50...... and all caused by something that if found 12 months earlier could have been cured........

    .... and it has left a very big hole in other peoples lives as well.

  • Generally, I'd prefer to know if I had something.

    Whether I'd get screened would depend on the test - risk of adverse events, how invasive it is, accuracy, etc and how (un)likely it was I had whatever was being tested for.

    Had a GP check me for testicular cancer once, he was disturbingly thorough. Relieved to find out there wasn't anything wrong with me though.

  • No kids, so nothing of that seeing them grow up business to worry about. and the people who'd miss me could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. I'm not an integral part of many lives. 

    No, I don't have smear tests, it was one of the screenings I've just declined. I seem to be recalled every time, and it's never been due to anything suspect, just they don't seem to read cleanly. I'm not sure the stress of multiple tests (I think the record was 5 before one came back clear enough to read) is worth it - especially when I'm not in a high risk category to start with. 

    And I'm not terribly keen on the idea of intervention anyway. not saying I'd refuse an operation, but I'd certainly start from a point of scepticism. 

    And it can't "save your life" - all it can do is delay it. It just might mean that you don't succum to that particular illness just then. Like Sarah's reducing the risk of dying - it can't risk of dying - it is a guarenteed 100%.

    which sounds a bit down. I'm not saying i want to die, but I'm not sure i want to spend all my life trying to avoid the event. 

  • I don't spend a lot of time trying to avoid dying, but I do have smear tests (every couple of years) and breast screening (only had one so far, can't be more often than once a year?) because they could significantly prolong my life.

    I enjoy life, so I take simple, if sometimes a bit uncomfortable, steps to keep it as long as I want.  I'd hate to pass up years of my life for the sake of about one appointment a year!

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    As with HL, no kids and the only person that would miss me is more likely to die before me.

    I don't want to live forever, well if I could live forever then that would be interesting but I'm not going to live forever so what's in 10 or so years?

    So it's a no from me. That's having watched my mother take 10 yrs to die from cancer. Giving up her life little by little, bit by bit. Living in constant and extreme pain, crying herself to sleep at night, that's when sleep did come.

    Remains no, I'd rather crash and burn. Goodnight.

  • I take all the screening tests I'm offered. I would rather know if I had a condition even if it couldn't be cured. In some circumstances catching a disease early can be the difference between taking relatively painless steps to cure the problem and dying a painful, protracted and undignified death.

    Even if I had a terminal illness, I would rather know so that I could make the most out of the time I had left, instead of discovering when it was too late to go skydiving, take that motorbike trip down Route 66 etc etc.

  • So avoid screening that could pick up risk factors for a stroke.....so no changes on lifestyle and stress......so you have a stroke....do not die but live the rest of your life in a half functioning body and need strangers to Do basic duties for you. I would rather know if I had higher risk factors and make thye changes....
  • I never said it was a logical arguement... image

    Apart from being a porker, I'm low or normal for most other things I've ever had tested, so maybe the presence of lower risk factors makes it seem less of a useful exercise. 

  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭

    I've never been offered a screening to avoid - but if I was I think I'd go along to it - if I had a health condition I'd rather know about it than not.   

  • xine267 wrote (see)

    I take all the screening tests I'm offered. I would rather know if I had a condition even if it couldn't be cured. In some circumstances catching a disease early can be the difference between taking relatively painless steps to cure the problem and dying a painful, protracted and undignified death.

    Even if I had a terminal illness, I would rather know so that I could make the most out of the time I had left, instead of discovering when it was too late to go skydiving, take that motorbike trip down Route 66 etc etc.

    I'm with Xine on both of these.

  • One thing is for sure...  I do not want to end up in a care home, unable to do even basic functions without assistance.     There was a big 'quality of life' debate on here ages ago and various points of view were suggested.   I don't want to be kept artifically alive on a life support system either.  Just switch the damn thing off.   I don't want to be a burden to my family and grow old and feeble...

    So..  I think screening is a good thing...   and the right to choose when to die is too.

     

  • Screening shouldn't be offered unless there is a safe solution to the problem being screened for.  A lot of the private screening companies test for problems that do not have a solution - they then dump bad news on people who have to make difficult decisions or live with that knowledge

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/ultrasound-screening-misleading-the-public/

     

    If the NHS offer you screening it usually (always?)has sound research backing it up. I can appreciate your attitude HL and have just started feeling that way myself. However I still drag myself along because life is damn precious and screening means I can probably enjoy it longer.

     

    Half the problem for me is that there are so many screening opportunities that people feel overwhelmed/fed up with poked and prodded.

    If however you had no opportunities and had to pay ... well I suspect public perception would change to valuing it more.

     

     

     

     

  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭

    What are these screening opportunities - like I say nobody ever offers me any !

  • http://www.screening.nhs.uk/programmes

    pops - just hang in there...

    At 60 you can have bowel screening

    At 65 you can have AAA screening

    If you have diabetes you can have your retinas screened

    If you had a cervix someone would peer at it for you

    If you had breasts (moobs don't count) someone would crush them for you

    Some areas have cardio vasc checks for 45 year olds.

    They are planning to bring in a flexy sigmoidoscopy screening service for 60 yr olds I think...

    Just get old and it all happens

     

  • The link isn't working - no idea why not, but google NSC screening.

  • Linking on here is crap now.  Best to just to highlight the text and paste the link in

     

  • And so is flipping quoting.

    "just been for my annual scolding at the GP; yes I'm over weight; yes I know it; yes I'm sure at my age it has implications; yadda yadda yadda. 

    Then we got onto health screenings. I was offered several, but I don't take them up on the offer. Despite what a lot of the medical profession seems to think, death is inevitable, and I am going to die of something; why not let it be a surprise? They can't sure everything, and having watched someone die of an incurrable disease, I'm not sure I'd want to know what fate had in store for me in that regard. 

    Possibly a bit off an eccentric view, I know, and possibly not well transferred to text. Do you knpw what i mean, or am I off at the deep end?"

     

    Quite surprised at your thoughts on this Helen 

    Yes I would have whatever screening is recommended. It's not going to do any harm is it? To me it's a bit like getting my car serviced every year. It may seem okay at the time but a small problem quickly fixed could have a massive impact down the line.  You go to the dentist regular-ish for checkups too? image

  • Downside is that sometimes conditions are detected that will not actually kill you but once known about must be treated.  Breast screening is controversial for this reason as certain forms of breast cancer will outlive you - if you get my drift.  However, once they are found they must be considered as potentially fatal.  You then go down the path of chemo/radio therapy and possible mastectomy on a 'just in case' basis.  Also goal posts have been substantially altered for bp/glucose and cholesterol readings over the past few years -  I am particularly concerned with the latter as statins seem to hailed as the modern wonder drug that we older people should take irrespective of the reported side effects.

  • But that is making the assumption that the screening would pick up a condition that would be "better" if you ignored it. What if the screening picks up a condition that could be treated or at least controlled with lifestyle changes now, rather than drugs or surgery in 15 years time? Would you rather wait until symptoms presented to find out that you had no hope of getting better, or have a head start on how you would deal with it? 

    I've got a family history of a blood clotting disorder, with three people on my dad's side having deep vein thrombosis. My sister and I both asked our GP to send us for a whole raft of tests to check that we didn't have the same condition. A couple of weeks of stress and the discomfort of the blood tests, which thankfully came back negative, but you know what - I'd rather know if I had the same condition and be on lifelong blood thinning medication, than only find out when a clot stopped my heart or reached my brain.

  • Someone said it doesn't do any harm. Well, it can do. Take prostate cancer screening. For every case found, 48 men will be treated unnecessarily, ie false positives can be high in relation to true positives if the base rate of the disease in the population is low, even if the screening test is fairly "accurate". Unnecessary treatment could result in incontinence, loss of sexual function, or simply reduced inlination to take part in other more useful tests in the future. So the costs for the masses should be taken into account when considering the introduction of screening.
  • which screening is that steve c........i know that ,most gp's have stoped the one type............

    I had abnormal cells removed 25 years ago by laser............detected for a smear test....whilst it was acknowledged taht there was no certainty that these cells would ever develop cancerous..........i am glad that i had a smear test at 19/20 and went through the unpleasant procedure of having them removed...........i was on my own a few hundred miles away from home.........as for many they can develop and its rather something i could do without.......

     

  • My point was the large number of other people who are false positives in any mass screening and what are the side-effects for them. There is more to it than to say simply it doesn't do any harm because both action and inaction do harm to someone. One needs to tally up all the costs and benefits.

     

  • Cochrane Library has a section on cancer screening, including this on prostate cancer screening.

     

     

  • Interesting you should say that, Seren, as some advice is now that a pap test is inappropriate for women under the age of 25 due to the high number of false positives, presumably. 

    Another risk of screening is that a false negative may cause that person later to delay in reporting to a doctor.

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