What is opportunistic screening?
Opportunistic screening happens when someone asks their doctor or health professional for a check or test, or a check or test is offered by a doctor or health professional.
At Ropata we have a policy for opportunistic screening. This document outlines the preventive healthcare policy of Ropata Health covering all age groups. It is intended to be a guideline for healthy individuals.
The guidelines will cover:
- Recording of height, weight, BMI and waist circumference.
- Advice on diet and exercise.
- Recording of smoking and alcohol consumption and appropriate advice.
- Recording of family history which may influence recommendations.
- Measurement of BP, fasting lipids and glucose.
- Adult immunisations.
- Breast and cervical cancer screening.
The above activities are well established clinical measurements and tests; some are part of a national screening programme.
Recommended health checks
We recommend the following health examination at age 45 and every two years thereafter till age 60 from when you should have an annual health check.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
We will measure your height and weight and waist circumference and give you an indication of what is your ideal weight range.
For exercise the key message is that you should undertake 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, eg brisk walking, on a daily basis.
We will record your smoking status and if needed provide you with assistance to stop smoking.
Excessive alcohol consumption is another health risk. Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as an average of no more than one to two standard drinks per day for women and two to three standard drinks for men. You should have some alcohol free days each week and avoid binges where six or more drinks are consumed in any one session.
We will record your family history to assess whether there are any inherited health risks which require attention.
We will record your blood pressure and give you a blood test form to measure your fasting lipids (cholesterol) and glucose. No other routine tests are recommended.
The National Breast Cancer Screening Programme recommends mammograms two yearly from age 45-70. Some women with a family history of breast cancer may prefer to be screened form an earlier age and more frequently.
The National Cervical Cancer Screening Programme recommends smears three yearly from age 20-70.
Annual influenza vaccinations
Annual influenza vaccinations are recommended from age 65. Tetanus diphtheria vaccination is recommended for those aged 45 and 65 if no dose has been given in the last 10 years.
All of the above are strongly advised.
We ask that you carefully consider the additional tests/examinations below.
Screening for skin cancer
This is not recommended at present for individuals at normal risk of skin cancer. However your doctor will be happy to examine and advise on the management of any skin spots which are causing concern. Those at high risk of skin cancer include those:
- with a previous history of melanoma
- with a family history of melanoma
- with lots of brown skin spots
- a fair complexion that burns easily
- with evidence of sun damaged skin.
If any of these apply to you, discuss regular surveillance with your doctor.
All postmenopausal women and some older men should consider bone density measurement.
It should be recommended in the following circumstances:
- You have already broken a bone after a small bump or fall.
- You take corticosteroid tablets regularly (this can make your bones weak).
- You are a woman who had the menopause before the age of 45 or had your ovaries taken out before the age of 45
- You are a woman who has missed menstrual periods (except when you were pregnant or after the menopause) for more than a year (this could happen because of anorexia or bulimia or exercising too much)
- You are a man who has low levels of a hormone called testosterone.
- You have other conditions that cause weak bones (these include conditions called malabsorption syndrome and hyperparathyroidism).
- You have had to stay in bed for a long time
- You are a woman and your mother broke her hip.
We recommend that screening for prostate cancer should be offered to those men from age 45 to 70. This is somewhat controversial and a separate information sheet outlining the pros and cons is available.
Ropata Health follows the National Bowel Screening Programme.