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Early disease detection (non-cancer)

Why is it important to identify health issues early? When you do, it may prevent or delay the onset of disease or make it more likely that the disease can be successfully treated. Screening tests can help to identify health issues before symptoms appear. It’s also important to consider your risk factors to help select screening options. Read our resources below and talk to your doctor for more information.

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  • Web Resource Rating

    Glaucoma screening: topic overview

    Health Link B.C.
    The Canadian Opthalmological Society recommends people at risk of glaucoma have a complete eye examination every year if age 60 or older, or every 2 years if age 50 to 59. Certain health conditions, medications, history and ethnicity can affect your risk of glaucoma.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Osteoporosis screening: topic overview

    Health Link B.C.
    Osteoporosis Canada recommends everyone over age 65 have routine bone density tests. Start routine testing earlier if you are at increased risk for broken bones. Use the FRAX tool to predict your risk of having a fracture related to osteoporosis (link in this resource).
  • Web Resource Rating

    Type 2 diabetes: Screening for adults

    Health Link B.C.
    People at average risk for type 2 diabetes should be tested every 3 years after age 40. You may need to be tested more frequently if you are at higher risk. Find out your risk with the Canadian Diabetes Risk Assessment Questionnaire (link in this resource).
  • Web Resource Rating

    Eye examinations for adults

    Health Link B.C.
    Refer to these guidelines for how often you should have an eye exam. For example, at age 50 consider yearly examinations for glaucoma or other vision problems. If you have a disease that affects your eyes, have an exam every year.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Coronary artery disease risk screening

    Health Link B.C.
    Men over 40 and women past menopause or over 50 should get screened for coronary artery disease (CAD) every 1 to 3 years. Your risk is higher if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, kidney disease, family history of CAD or if you smoke.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Blood pressure screening

    Health Link B.C.
    The Canadian Hypertension Education Program recommends that all adults get their blood pressure tested when they visit the doctor. If you are at risk for heart disease or a disease caused by high blood pressure, you should get your blood pressure checked more often.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Prostate Cancer Screening: Should I Have a PSA Test?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps men considering a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test decide on whether or not to have a test by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Heart Disease Risk: Should I Have a Coronary Calcium Scan?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people who are curious about their risk for heart disease but don't have angina symptoms decide on whether or not to have a coronary calcium scan. It facilitates the process by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Prostate Cancer Screening: Should I Have a PSA Test?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps men considering a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test decide on whether or not to have a test by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Heart Disease Risk: Should I Have a Coronary Calcium Scan?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people who are curious about their risk for heart disease but don't have angina symptoms decide on whether or not to have a coronary calcium scan. It facilitates the process by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for chronic kidney disease: Consumer fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    Older age, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history put you at higher risk for kidney disease. There is not enough evidence to weigh the benefits and harms of screening for kidney disease among adults who don't have diabetes, high blood pressure or symptoms of kidney disease.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for coronary heart disease with electrocardiography: Consumer fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    If you are at low risk for coronary heart disease and do not have symptoms, screening with electrocardiography (ECG) is not recommended since the harms outweigh the benefits. More research is need to make recommendations about screening for people at high risk for coronary heart disease.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for hearing loss in older adults: Consumer fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    Hearing loss is common among older adults but may be difficult to notice. There is not enough evidence to know if screening helps people who may not be aware of their hearing loss or who have chosen not to seek help.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea: Consumer fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    Sexually active women over 24 years old who do not use condoms or have more than one sexual partner should get screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Heart Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people wishing to confirm the diagnosis of coronary artery disease decide on whether or not to have an angiogram by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Heart Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people wishing to confirm the diagnosis of coronary artery disease decide on whether or not to have an angiogram by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Should I Get a Screening Test?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people without symptoms or a diagnosis of an abdominal aortic aneurysm decide on whether or not to get a screening test by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Should I Get a Screening Test?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people without symptoms or a diagnosis of an abdominal aortic aneurysm decide on whether or not to get a screening test by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for carotid artery stenosis final recommendation fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    Carotid artery stenosis is more common among older men and can lead to a stroke. Healthy adults without symptoms do not need to be screened for carotid artery stenosis.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Type 2 diabetes: Patient FAQ

    Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
    Find answers to frequently asked questions about type 2 diabetes in this resource. Help prevent diabetes: eat a healthy diet and limit fat, salt and alcohol, control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and do not smoke.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Type 2 diabetes: Patient FINDRISC

    Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
    Use this risk calculator to find out your risk for type 2 diabetes and see if you should be tested. Many people with diabetes have no symptoms. Speak to your doctor if you notice diabetes symptoms such as unusual thirst, the need to pee a lot, lack of energy, blurred vision, tingling or numbness in your hands or feet.
  • Evidence Summary

    Non-physician screening and self-screening can detect raised blood pressure

    American Journal of Hypertension (2015)
  • Web Resource Rating

    Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening

    Health Link B.C.
    Ultrasounds can find abdominal aortic aneurysms. All men aged 65-75 should get screened, as well as men under 65 and women over 65 who are at higher risk. Not all doctors agree with this recommendation.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Osteoporosis: Should I have a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps women over 65 or at higher risk for osteoporosis decide on whether or not to have a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Osteoporosis: Should I have a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps women over 65 or at higher risk for osteoporosis decide on whether or not to have a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Sleep Apnea: Should I Have a Sleep Study?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people with symptoms of sleep apnea decide on whether or not to have a sleep study by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Sleep Apnea: Should I Have a Sleep Study?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people with symptoms of sleep apnea decide on whether or not to have a sleep study by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Colon polyps

    Mayo Clinic
    Signs of colon polyps include abdominal pain, blood in stool or a change in bathroom habits. It is important to get screened if you are at risk since some polyps can develop into colon cancer. Many polyps can be removed during screening.
  • Web Resource Rating

    HIV Testing: Should I Get Tested for Human Immunodeficiency Virus?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to get tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    HIV Testing: Should I Get Tested for Human Immunodeficiency Virus?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to get tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Lately, I've had a lot of leg pain, especially when sitting at my desk or standing in line at the store. Should I be concerned about this new aching?

    Mayo Clinic
    Leg pain can have many causes including a build-up of fluid in the leg veins. New and lasting leg pain is a good reason to visit your doctor. Support socks or hose can help ease pain from fluid buildup.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Low Back Pain: Should I Have an MRI?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people with acute low back pain decide on whether or not to have an MRI by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Low Back Pain: Should I Have an MRI?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people with acute low back pain decide on whether or not to have an MRI by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Health Screenings: Should I Buy Commercial Tests?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to buy a commercial screening package by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Health Screenings: Should I Buy Commercial Tests?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to buy a commercial screening package by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Slide show: Age-related vision problems

    Mayo Clinic
    Recognize signs of eye floaters, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration which can occur with age. Speak with your doctor about changes in your eyesight. Some problems can be prevented or treated.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Cataracts pictures, causes, symptoms and surgery

    Medicine Net
    Lower your risk of cataracts by not smoking, limiting alcohol, controlling diabetes and wearing sunglasses. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can help correct vision. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective treatment. Pictures in this slideshow.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Detecting dementia: How hit and miss is this questionnaire?

    Evidently Cochrane
    The IQCODE questionnaire can be used to find out whether you have a memory disorder. The test can lead to false dementia diagnosis for healthy patients. A single tool is likely not the best approach for diagnosing dementia.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Medical history for alcohol problems

    Health Link B.C.
    Your doctor may ask you questions about alcohol use as part of your medical history. If you have problems sleeping, headaches, digestive problems, changes in your heartbeat, problems during sex, or if you feel depressed or anxious, these symptoms may be related to alcohol use.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Rectal Bleeding (blood in faeces)

    Patient.co.uk
    Blood in your faeces (poop) can come from anywhere in the gut. Hemorrhoids are the most common cause of rectal bleeding. If you notice any bleeding or have black faeces, see a doctor. They will perform tests to find the cause.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for and management of obesity in adults: Consumer fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    All adults should be tested for obesity. This can be done by calculating your body mass index (BMI). If your BMI is over 30, weight loss programs can help to improve your weight and health.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm: Final recommendation fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men aged 65-75 who have ever smoked get screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for cognitive impairment in older adults: Consumer fact sheet on final USPSTF recommendation

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    Cognitive impairment causes problems with your memory and may lead to dementia. Be alert for signs of cognitive impairment and share any concerns with your doctor. There is not enough high quality evidence to weigh the benefits and harms of screening for cognitive impairment in older adults.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for hepatitis B virus infection in adults: Final recommendation consumer fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    People at higher risk of hepatitis B should get screened: people who have not been vaccinated and whose parents come from a country where it is common, injection drug users, people living with HIV, people living with someone who has hepatitis B and men who have sex with men.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening: What might help you decide

    Informed Health Online
    Screening tests are more useful if the disease is serious, if the test is reliable, if the test is not harmful and if the disease has better treatment options when detected early. Screening is not a diagnosis and can sometimes lead to a false alarm. This resource includes questions to ask your doctor.
  • Web Resource Rating

    STI Testing: Should I Get Tested For a Sexually Transmitted Infection?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to get tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    STI Testing: Should I Get Tested For a Sexually Transmitted Infection?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to get tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Fertility Problems: Should I Be Tested?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people with fertility problems decide on whether or not to have tests to find the cause of infertility by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Hepatitis B: Should I Be Tested?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to have a blood test for hepatitis B or hepatitis C by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Fertility Problems: Should I Be Tested?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people with fertility problems decide on whether or not to have tests to find the cause of infertility by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Hepatitis B: Should I Be Tested?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to have a blood test for hepatitis B or hepatitis C by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Should you be tested for diabetes?

    Berkeley Wellness
    Get tested for diabetes if you are over 45 years old. People who are overweight, have high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes or other risk factors should get tested earlier. Early detection of diabetes may help you avoid using medication.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Choosing wisely on getting a bone density test

    National Women’s Health Network
    Get a bone density test if you are 65 or older. For strong bones, do at least 30 min of exercise a day, take calcium and vitamin D, avoid smoking and excess alcohol. Improve your home safety to reduce risk of falls.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Meniscus tear: Should I have a diagnostic test (MRI or arthroscopy)?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps with suspected meniscal tear decide on whether to have a diagnostic test (MRI or arthroscopy) or try other treatment methods such as physical therapy or home treatment. It facilitates this process by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Meniscus tear: Should I have a diagnostic test (MRI or arthroscopy)?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps with suspected meniscal tear decide on whether to have a diagnostic test (MRI or arthroscopy) or try other treatment methods such as physical therapy or home treatment. It facilitates this process by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Headaches: Should I Have Imaging Tests to Find Out What's Causing My Headaches?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people considering diagnostic imaging to evaluate their headaches decide on whether or not to have imaging tests by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Headaches: Should I Have Imaging Tests to Find Out What's Causing My Headaches?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people considering diagnostic imaging to evaluate their headaches decide on whether or not to have imaging tests by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Should I Have Tests for IBS Symptoms?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps individuals who are uncertain if they have irritable bowel syndrome decide on whether or not to have tests for IBS symptoms by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options. It includes alternative options to having tests such as trying home treatment.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Should I Have Tests for IBS Symptoms?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps individuals who are uncertain if they have irritable bowel syndrome decide on whether or not to have tests for IBS symptoms by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options. It includes alternative options to having tests such as trying home treatment.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Sorting out health concerns

    Canadian Virtual Hospice
    To help your health care team, write down your health concerns and symptoms in detail. This resource includes questions you can consider. This can lead to a physical examination or tests.
  • Blog Post

    Just a "senior's moment"? What are the best ways to diagnose dementia?

    Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, finding out the best ways to diagnose the condition early may help people to access the best available treatments and support and maintain control and independence for as long as possible.
  • Blog Post

    Diabetic foot care: Awareness and prevention are vital

    People with diabetes are at significantly higher risk for foot disease including ulcers that can lead to serious health problems. A leading expert in diabetic foot care provides important facts and strategies for prevention and protection.

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