A Consultant Pathologist at the Isolo General Hospital, Lagos, Dr Mustapha Adenuga, said on Thursday that early health screening and routine check-up would reduce adult mortality.
Adenuga made the assertion in an interview in Lagos.
He defined screening as an examination or testing of individuals or a group to separate those well from those with diseases or defects.
According to him, the goal of health screenings and check-up is early detection of diseases in order to treat them most effectively.
He said that the aim was also to effect lifestyles changes that would reduce the risk of diseases.
The consultant regretted that many Nigerians found it difficult to go for routine medical check-up and screening until when ill.
“The objective of medical screening is to identify a disease in its pre-clinical stage and hopefully still curable phase.
“Screenings are somewhat unique in that they are performed on persons apparently in good health.
“Screening interventions are designed to identify diseases in a community early; therefore, enabling early intervention and management to reduce mortality and suffering from the disease,” he said.
Adenuga, however, said that although some screenings might lead to an early diagnosis, it was not all screenings that had had been shown to benefit the person being screened.
He said that over-diagnosis, misdiagnosis and creation of fear and a false sense of security are some potential adverse effects of screening.
The consultant said that a test used in a screening programme especially for diseases with low incidence must have good sensitivity in addition to acceptable specificity.
He said that there were several types of screening but the most common were universal and case finding.
“Universal screening involves screening of individuals in a certain category (for example all children of a certain age).
“There is also the case finding screening, which involves a smaller group of people based on the presence of risk factors, either in the family or by heredity.
“Screening interventions are not designed to be diagnostic and often have significant rates of both false positive and false negative results,’’ he said.
Adenuga said that common screening for cancer included pap smear or liquid-based cytology to detect potentially precancerous lesions and prevent cervical cancer, mammography to detect breast cancer and colonoscopy and fecal occult blood test to detect colorectal cancer.
He said that other important screenings are Purified Protein Derivative (PPD) test to screen for exposure to tuberculosis and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to screen for depression.
Adenuga, therefore, advised youths and adults, particularly females from 18 years and above, to go for period screening for early detection and treatment of diseases.
He said that adult mortality would be reduced in the country if the citizens would embrace regular routine medical check-up.