Screening can detect medical conditions at an early stage before symptoms present while treatment is more effective than for later detection. In the best of cases lives are saved.

Like any medical test, the tests used in screening are not perfect. The test result may incorrectly show positive for those without disease, or negative for people who have the condition.

Limitations of screening programmes can include:

  • Screening incurs costs for a majority of people who do not need treatment.
  • Adverse effects of screening procedure (e.g. stress and anxiety, discomfort, radiation exposure)
  • Stress and anxiety caused by a false positive screening result.
  • Unnecessary investigation and treatment of false positive results

Read this post for more information on health screening in Singapore.

Recent Questions

Besides endoscopy & colonoscopy, are there any other safer or less invasive procedures for an elderly person with existing medical conditions?

First of all, I would like to emphasize that routine gastroscopy and colonoscopy are really minimally invasive with a very low risk even for elderly with pre-existing medical conditions provided those conditions are stable. Besides being able to inspect the inner lining of the digestive tract directly, endoscopy allows your specialist to obtain tissue samples and remove small polyps at the same time. This not only increases the accuracy of the diagnosis but also allows treatment to be done at the same setting with minimal risk to you.

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Answered By

Dr Wai Leong Quan


When are the risks of a test acceptable for the elderly?

The risks of any test depends largely on how the test is being done. Fortunately, most diagnostic tests in modern medicine do not carry a very high risk of injury to our body. As to whether the given risks to undergo a particular test is too high to accept will depend on a few factors. The most important factor is the reason to carry out the test and whether the result of such test is crucial. An example of a crucial test is getting tissue samples from an organ to confirm a cancer. The next factor to consider is whether there is a reasonable treatment with a given test result.

Photo of Dr Wai Leong Quan

Answered By

Dr Wai Leong Quan


Recent Sessions

A Parent Asks (Part 1): Is it COVID19 if my Child has a Fever?

Ended on August 1, 2020

Dr. Paul Ang founded the Zenith Medical Clinic at Punggol West in 2014. With a keen interest to improve the delivery of General Practitioner (GP) services, Dr. Ang aims to bring great, quality, affordable healthcare to the residents in Punggol, Singapore. Dr. Ang was presented the President Scout Award in 2004 by the late President SR Nathan . Enlisting the help of Dr. John Lee and Priscilla Lee, Dr. Ang established Project Sa'Bai, an overseas community involvement project based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, along with a close friend of his. This was another notable achievement of Dr. Ang's as the project was one of the biggest, earliest and most well-established medical initiatives under the Medical Society in NUS.


  • Reasons for doctors to suggest a gastroscopy
  • How is a gastroscopy performed
  • Cost of gastroscopy in Singapore
  • How to prep for a gastroscopy
  • What does a gastroscopy test for


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