Is private health screening worth it?

Why you need a health check

Do you tend to ignore your health until something goes wrong? And even then, if symptoms aren’t too bad, or life is busy, you might brush them aside and carry on?

Sounds familiar? Then you could be among those who suddenly find themselves in hospital having to undergo a string of frightening tests. But there are ways to safeguard your health.

What is health screening?

Health screening is all about getting the best preventative care so you can live a healthy life.

The Benefits

  • Quick diagnosis. Sometimes before symptoms show
  • Get the treatment you need fast
  • Get peace of mind about your future health
  • Explore a health concern

Dr Amarjit Raindi is a GP at private day clinic Twenty-five Harley street, and a great believer in the benefits of health screening and preventative medicine.

Booking in for a health screening with a private GP is where you have a consultation to identify your main health risks, using a holistic approach by looking at your current health, family history and lifestyle.

Targeted health screening

Heart disease

Risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Raised cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Being over weight 

Bowel conditions

Risk factors include:

  • History of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Polyposis syndromes (FAP) 
  • A diet high in meat and low in fibre and vegetables

Faecal occult blood (FOB)

This is a stool test which identifies blood in the stools even if it’s not visible to the naked eye. This is useful for picking up conditions such as ulcers, haemorrhoids, diverticular disease and early signs of cancer. We recommend annual tests for patients over 50.

Colonoscopy

This test gives doctors a clear picture of the large bowel and is usually performed under sedation. This detailed test has the advantage of being able to take biopsies of any suspicious looking lesions. We recommend at least 10 yearly colonoscopy for low risk patients.

Lung conditions

Risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Passive smoking
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Exposure to radiation

Breast Cancer

About a quarter of cases of breast cancer occur in younger women, before the age of 50, so there is a case for early screening. What’s more, early detection and a improved treatments have vastly improved outcomes. 

Risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Certain genes
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • The combined contraceptive pill (small increase in risk)

The best screening tool is annual mammography after the age of 40, this uses X-rays to identify any suspicious breast lesions. However, we would consider both breast MRI and mammography in high risk individuals after the age of 30.

Prostate Cancer

Attitudes towards prostate cancer have developed into a more proactive approach towards diagnosis and management.

Risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Family history 
  • Ethnicity (more prevalent in the Afro-Caribbean population)

We recommend combining a PSA (Prostate specific antigen) blood test with a detailed multiparametric prostate MRI using the latest state of the art 3T MRI scanners. A normal MRI scan can then avoid an unnecessary biopsy and furthermore any biopsies that are planned can be targeted to specific lesions.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis itself doesn’t cause any symptoms, but as a result of bones becoming thinner and more brittle, the first sign is a fracture, often in the hip, shoulder or wrist.

Fractures in the vertebrae of the spine can lead to chronic back pain and loss of height. 

Risk factors include:

  • Women after the menopause
  • Premature menopause
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Low BMI
  • A family history
  • Use of steroids
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • An underactive thyroid
  • Diabetes (type 1)

Screening for osteoporosis is done by use of a risk assessment tool and a DEXA scan. Treatment can then be decided depending on the bone density (as measure by DEXA), the risk score and relevant history.

Lifestyle modifications are important – reducing alcohol intake, avoiding smoking, weight bearing exercises and eating a well-balanced diet with calcium rich foods. The use of calcium and vitamin D supplements as well as medication may be advised.

 Professor David Reid at Twenty-five Harley Street, is one of the UK’s leading expert on DEXA (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) and can provide you with a Body Composition Scan.

Same day appointment with GP

You can get an appointment with a trusted doctor the same day at central London clinic Twenty-five Harley Street, which offers a 24/7 service – with appointments available at the clinic from 8.30am until 8pm at night. Dr Drashnika Patel explains, ‘Patients don’t need to be registered at Twenty-five Harley Street.’ Just dial up the usual number - 020 3883 9525 or email [email protected] .

A substance that prompts the immune system to fight infection with antibodies. Full medical glossary
Inflammation of one or more joints of the body. Full medical glossary
The removal of a small sample of cells or tissue so that it may be examined under a microscope. The term may also refer to the tissue sample itself. Full medical glossary
A fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. Full medical glossary
A common name for the large and/or small intestines. Full medical glossary
An element that forms the structure of bones and teeth and is essential to many of the body's functions. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
A substance present in many tissues and an important constituent of cell membranes although high concentrations of a certain type of cholesterol in the blood are unhealthy. Full medical glossary
A disease of long duration generally involving slow changes. Full medical glossary
The large intestine. Full medical glossary
Examination of the colon and rectum with a colonoscope, an imaging instrument that is inserted through the anus. Full medical glossary
A term used to describe something that prevents pregnancy. Full medical glossary
The process of determining which condition a patient may have. Full medical glossary
Small pouches that protrude from the wall of hollow organs such as the colon.They are very common and are thought to be caused by pressure forcing the lining of the organ through areas of weakness in the wall. They are associated with aging. Full medical glossary
The presence of small protruding sacs called ‘diverticula’ in the wall of the intestines and the symptoms caused by them. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
Swollen blood vessel in the lining of the anus, also known as piles. Full medical glossary
Swollen blood vessels around the anus, also known as piles. Full medical glossary
Abbreviation for hormone replacement therapy, the administration of female hormones in cases where they are not sufficiently produced by the body. Full medical glossary
a general term to cover any abnormality such as a wound, infection, abscess or tumour. Full medical glossary
A diagnostic and screening test using low-dose X-rays to detect breast tumours Full medical glossary

The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods cease

Full medical glossary
Myocardial infarction. Death of a segment of heart muscle, which follows interruption of its blood supply. Full medical glossary
Tiny, harmless, hard, white spots that usually occur in clusters around the nose and on the upper cheeks in newborn babies and also in young adults. Full medical glossary
An abbreviation for magnetic resonance imaging, a technique for imaging the body that uses electromagnetic waves and a strong magnetic field. Full medical glossary
A condition resulting in brittle bones due to loss of bony tissue. Full medical glossary
A gland that surrounds the urethra near the bladder. It produces a fluid that forms part of the semen. Full medical glossary
An abbreviation for prostate-specific antigen, an enzyme that is produced by the prostate. High levels are present in the blood when the prostate gland is enlarged or inflamed. Full medical glossary
Energy in the form of waves or particles, including radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays. Full medical glossary
septic arthritis Full medical glossary
A way to identify people who may have a certain condition, among a group of people who may or may not seem to Full medical glossary
Compounds with a common basic structure, which occur naturally in the body. The term may also refer to man-made drugs administered because they act like hormones. Full medical glossary
A gland in the neck that produces hormones with a role in controlling metabolism. Full medical glossary
Any abnormal break in the epithelium, the outer layer of cells covering the open surfaces of the body. Full medical glossary
Essential substances that cannot be produced by the body and so must be acquired from the diet. Full medical glossary
A type of electromagnetic radiation used to produce images of the body. Full medical glossary