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Thursday Talk: Don’t be scammed for a scan!

Pop quiz: What is the optimal frequency to go for a health screening?
Answer: Well. It really depends, ask the doctor.

Yes, it depends on your age, health status, family history, and what you’re screening for. A healthy individual don’t necessarily need to go for a comprehensive health screening every year. For certain individuals at a certain age, an annual basic check-up would be advisable.

OK, let’s pause there for a second, time for a reality check.

Health screenings are expensive, and it’s not covered by MediSave. What’s worse, there are so many options for health screening to choose from; with prices ranging from S$75 to around S$750 just for what is advertised as “basic” packages.

Source: Pexels

Which one is better? Would the cheaper options cut corners? The expensive ones have more tests - do I need those tests? Should I take the more comprehensive one just in case?

No, you don’t need that super expensive full-body screening. In fact, some tests like mammograms and x-rays can actually be harmful, and should not be overdone.

The Ministry of Health’s Health Hub has a very useful guide on what kind of screenings you actually need.

Source: Health Hub

Additionally, there’s also a curious phenomenon - a significant number of people in Singapore are not following up after a health screening, even if there was a red flag that showed up in their report.

There are many reasons why someone wouldn’t follow up after a health screening, as detailed in ST’s report. However, putting your health screening results on a backburner is only going to increase the risk of developing further complications in the future.

If you were worried about incurring extra fees for treatment if you went for a follow-up; think about the potential impact on your wallet, if you developed complications that cost even more to treat than if you had dealt with it earlier.

Source: Pexels

MyDoc believes that prevention is better than cure, but there needs to be a good balance. Sure, there are benefits in going for a comprehensive health screening, but not everyone needs it. It’s like buying a car - sure a sports car would be great but unless you’re a racecar driver, there really isn’t an absolute need for the speed and power it is capable of.

Similarly, getting regularly checked for essentials like weight, cholesterol, blood pressure are important for maintaining a healthy body. There is, however, no need to do a colonoscopy every year, for example.

MyDoc partners with health screening labs to offer a basic test at an appropriate cost. We don’t advocate spending more on tests you don’t need - just the essentials. There might be instances where further tests are needed, but that should be communicated to the patients individually based on their needs.

More importantly, it is crucial to communicate with a registered medical professional if red flags appear. MyDoc’s platform is designed so it’s easy to follow up with a GP or a health coach (such as a dietitian or nutritionist) on any potential concerns in a report.

A digital copy of the health report is sent to the patient’s account, with clear labels and descriptions on what those figures and markers mean. Patients can then easily book a follow-up video consultation so they can speak with the right healthcare professional regarding their health results.

Health screenings are important and should be done at fairly regular intervals so that you catch any potential illnesses early. However, that doesn’t mean you have to fork out thousands each time. It’s more important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be generally aware of any risk factors that are affecting your health.

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