The role of preventive examinations in health care

1. What is a preventive/screening examination?

A preventive examination is a kind of procedure which is undertaken by persons without the symptoms of illness in order to detect as early as possible and implement the early treatment as well as prevent from serious results of illness in the future.

A group which will undergo all the examinations should be established (i.a. age, sex, the exposure to potentially harmful factors such as smoking tobacco and other environmental factors) as well as the type of examinations performed which will serve the early detection of potential illness in order to obtain the maximal efficiency of preventive examinations. Different examinations will be assigned in the programme of lung cancer prevention and different in oncogenic programmes e.g. the early detection of cervical cancer and nipple or in preventive programmes from the scope of cardiovascular diseases.

2. Is the preventive screening popular?

The answer to that question is actually one - not that popular as the authors of popular preventive programmes would like it to be. According to the questionnaire survey conducted by PBS "Teva-360 steps for health" in 2007 it turned out that the half of Poles both male and female do not undergo regular preventive examinations. 15% more men than women are convinced about their good condition of health. For these reasons it is exquisitely important to encourage as many patients as possible to undergo the proposed preventive examinations.

3. Why preventive examinations of early lung cancer diagnostic are essential?

Smoking tobacco and the results associated with it are still a relevant problem in our country (the risk of lung cancer development and cardiovascular diseases). Circa 20 000 of new cases are recorded in Poland every year (15 000 men and 5 000 women). There has been a considerable increase recorded for the new cases of women falling ill within 40 years of observation from 474 cases in 1963 to 4 132 in 2000. Therefore early prevention has a great importance in that kind of cancer. Moreover, the early detection of the lung cancer can considerably lower the costs of disease treatment, unability to work/disability or finally to extend the period of survivability in case of the diagnosis.

4. What kind of preventive examinations we can offer in the programme of early prevention of the lung cancer?

The performance of an X-ray is the most basic examination. Low-dose computer tomography is the following element of diagnostics if there is any suspicion of the lung cancer. One should emphasise that these examinations are noninvasive. Within the preventive programme all categorised patients will have morphology done as well as CEA antigen (tumour marker). The analyses are completely free of charge and are not connected with any risk for the health of patients. Basic and specialised consultation will supplement the actions in the programme mentioned above.

5. Is it worth to participate in the preventive programme?

The reply is of course affirmative- I encourage all persons interested and selected in the suggested preventive examinations to participate in it on the basis of my own experience in conducting various preventive programmes (e.g. the diseases of cardiovascular system or the programme of early detection of chronic obturative pulmonary disease) and the analysis of statistical elaborations.


Elaborated by: Wojciech Chmielewski