Screening Programs

What is a screening program?

Screening is a method of identifying the individuals who are at an increased risk of suffering from a particular disease within an apparently healthy population. Such individuals are provided with relevant counseling, further testing and the appropriate therapy and follow up required so as to minimize the risk and complications that may arise from the disease.

Screening is always applied to an otherwise asymptomatic population and not targeted towards those who suffer from any clinical symptoms of the disease sought. Their objective is to minimize the risk of severe health repercussions from the disease. It is widely accepted however that they cannot totally exclude this risk. Before any screening program can be applied on to the general population, it is absolutely necessary that the natural history/pathology and development of the disease is fully understood.

A screening program is comprised of a series of controlled actions such as general public awareness, first and second line testing, diagnostics, therapy and follow up  that evidently minimizes the repercussions of the disease.