What is disease screening and what is its importance?

Published on : 24 April 20202 min reading time

Many diseases exist today. Some of them are even difficult to cure, even though they can spread very quickly. This is why it is important to have regular check-ups and screening.

Benefits and goals of screening

By definition, screening is a systematic testing procedure. It is carried out in order to find out about the different diseases that might exist in a given society. In other words, it is a procedure, the purpose of which is the screening or detection of diseases. This is done through either screening tests or preliminary examinations. This makes it possible to identify diseases and to know whether they need to be studied in depth to prevent their spread.

However, it should be noted that screening must be distinguished from prevention. Indeed, it only intervenes in secondary prevention. The purpose of disease screening is to detect the development of disease symptoms in order to prevent their spread. It is a difficult and complex procedure because it is carried out by asymptomatic people. Screening is then also called “effective secondary prevention”.

Disease screening procedure

The screening procedure begins with knowledge of the disease to be screened and its severity. In other words, the person doing the screening begins by identifying the disease beforehand, in order to fight against its spread. It will also detect the development of disease symptoms. Then, the national screening committee will authorize the screening, after performing the disease detection procedures. Then, the participants will inform the population about the disease, its symptoms and the good practices to follow to fight against it. They will also carry out screening and encourage the population to come for screening tests.

The screening and diagnostic test

Screening has a very special feature. It is to be distinguished from the diagnostic test. The latter is performed to find out whether the disease is present in the person’s body or not, whereas for screening, the test result is provided more quickly. It should be noted, however, that after screening, screening participants with positive results must also undergo a diagnostic test. Finally, it should not be forgotten that the diagnostic test is performed on a person with symptoms, which is contrary to screening.

What are the types and characteristics of screening tests?

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