Health screening enables you to find out if you have a particular disease or condition even if you do not have any symptoms and/or signs of disease. Early detection, followed by treatment and good control of the condition can result in better outcomes. Find out which recommended health screening test is suitable for you.
All You Need to Know About Health Screening
1. What is health screening?
Health screening is important to everyone. It involves the use of tests, physical examinations or other procedures to detect disease early in people who look or feel well. This is different from diagnostic tests which are done when someone is already showing signs and/or symptoms of a disease.
2. Why should I go for health screening?
Health screening helps you find out if you have a particular disease or condition even if you feel perfectly well, without any symptoms and/or signs of disease. Early detection, followed by treatment and good control of the condition can result in better outcomes, and lowers the risk of serious complications. It is therefore important to get yourself screened even if you feel perfectly healthy.
3. What kind of screening tests should I go for?
There are 3 types of screening tests1.
Beneficial for everyone: These tests are listed in Table A.
Beneficial for some but not others: Decision to be made on an 'individual' level, based on your individual risk factors e.g. self or family history of hereditary or chronic diseases, exposure to factors that can lead to disease e.g. smoking.
Not recommended for screening: Currently, there is not enough information to support the use of these tests.
It is best to speak to your family doctor who will advise you to go for the relevant screening tests based on your individual health profile.
Table A – General Screening Tests (Beneficial for everyone)
General Screening Tests for Adults
||To screen for
|Individuals aged 18 yrs and above
||Body Mass Index (BMI) Waist circumference
||Once a year
|Individuals aged 18 yrs and above
||Hypertension (High blood pressure)
||Blood pressure measurement
||Once every two years or more frequently as advised by your doctor
|Individuals aged 40 yrs and above
Hyperlipidaemia (High blood cholesterol)
|Fasting blood glucose
|Once every three years or more frequently as advised by your doctor
|Individuals aged 50 yrs and above
||Faecal Immunochemical Test (to test for blood in stools)
|Once a year
Once every ten years
|Additional Tests for Women
|Women aged 25-69 yrs, who have had sexual intercourse
||Once every three years
|Women aged 50-69 yrs
||Once every two years
General Screening Tests for Newborns
||To screen for
|Newborns aged 0-4 weeks old
||Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
||Screen with umbilical cord blood
||Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM)
||Metabolic screen with Tandem Mass Spectrometry (TMS)
||Thyroid Function Test (TFT)
4. What should I do after health screening?
If your screening results are normal, you should continue to go for regular screening at the recommended frequency because screening only detects health conditions that are present at the time of screening. If you develop signs or symptoms after your screening, please see your doctor – do not wait for your next screening appointment.
If your screening results are abnormal, you should follow-up with your doctor immediately even if you feel perfectly well. Early treatment and good control of disease can result in better outcomes and prevent or delay serious complications.
5. Why do I need to go for regular screening at the recommended frequency?
A one-off screening will only pick up health conditions that are present at the time of screening. Regular screening helps to detect conditions that may develop after the previous screening. Hence, it is important for you to go for regular screening tests at the recommended frequency.
6. What should I do if I cannot afford the screening tests?
Health Screening is heavily subsidised for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. If you are aged 50 years and above with a Health Assist card (under CHAS – Community Health Assist Scheme), you will be entitled to fully paid-for cancer screening tests under the SG50 Cancer Screening initiative. Health Assist cardholders can also claim up to $18.50 for each screening-related and follow-up consultation, for a maximum of two times each year.
If you belong to the Pioneer Generation (PG), the cost of the screening tests (offered under Screen for Life) is also fully subsidised. PG cardholders can also claim up to $28.50, for each screening-related and follow-up consultation, for up to two times per year.
For the exact cost of the screening tests, please click here.
If you have difficulty paying for the screening tests, please speak to the medical social worker at the polyclinics
7. My screening results are not too good, and my doctor has advised me to get follow up treatment.
What should I do if I cannot afford the follow up treatment?
Good, affordable basic healthcare is also available to Singaporeans through subsidised medical services offered at public hospitals and polyclinics. Medisave, Medishield, Elder Shield and Medifund schemes can help Singaporeans offset their medical expenses.
8. Where can I go for health screening?
Health screening is available at many private medical clinics and polyclinics. Visit the directory for the list of screening locations.
9. Can I use my Medisave to pay for the health screening cost?
Currently, Medisave cannot be used for other health screening such as screening for diabetes or high cholesterol. However, if you are diagnosed with a chronic condition covered under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP), Medisave may be used to pay for part of the outpatient treatment cost of these diseases.
Women aged 50 and above can use their own or immediate family member’s Medisave for their screening mammograms at approved mammogram centres. Under the Medisave 400 scheme, up to $400 per Medisave account a year can be used for screening mammograms.
Persons aged 50 and above can also use their own or their immediate family member’s Medisave for their screening colonoscopies (to screen for colorectal cancer) at approved colonoscopy centres.
Click here for more information and the list of approved centres.
10. Can I have a health screening if I am pregnant?
In most circumstances, your GP/obstetrician/gynaecologist would have conducted the appropriate tests for you. Please consult them to find out if a health screening is necessary for you.
11. I am 70 years old (or older), do I still need to go for a health screening?
If you have not been screened in the past three years, and you do not have a chronic condition (such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol), please consult your GP for advice on screening. If you have been screened within the last three years, do continue to see your GP for the necessary follow up and advice on health screening.
12. If I am currently on medication for one of the chronic diseases, should I still go for a health screening?
If you already have one of the chronic diseases and are on medication(s), your doctor would be monitoring your condition as a form of management. Please consult your GP on whether a health screening is necessary for you.
1 Report of the Screening Test Review Committee. February 2011, Academy of Medicine, Singapore.
2,3 Screening can start at an earlier age or be done more frequently if someone has risk factors for the disease.
Contributed By: Health Promotion Board (HPB)