“Choosing whether you should be screened for a health condition isn’t always easy,” the National Institutes of Health admits. Sometimes tests may involve risk factors that can make the decision about early screening difficult to navigate.
If you are uneasy about getting tested, here’s some guidance we can offer.
Testing Can Reduce Costs
Early screening can save money. A recent study from the Milken Institute found that total costs in the U.S. for direct health care treatment for often-preventable, chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension totaled $1.1 trillion—equivalent to nearly six percent of the nation’s GDP.
The Journal of Health Economics also asserts that the value of prevention is almost always greater than that of treatment. Amputation from diabetic neuropathy, for example, is far more costly (in terms of money, and emotional distress) than insulin management.
Testing Can Prevent Spread
When it comes to a sexually transmitted infection, stigma may keep patients from getting tested. This is problematic because many STIs are asymptomatic, or may take years to manifest in physical symptoms. Therefore, they may be unwittingly passed to infect other partners.
But according to 2020 statistics from the CDC, one in five individuals in the United States has an STD, or STI — far more common than anyone might think.
“Why should it be any more shameful to catch an infection from sex than it is from shaking hands, a kiss or being coughed upon?” Dr. Jen Gunter — an obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in California — mused in The New York Times.
Participating in early testing — and being transparent about the results — is how patients can show respect for themselves and their partners. It “isn’t indicative of one’s character,” insists sexologist and founder of SexELDucation, Emily Depasse, but rather an opportunity to receive treatment before conditions worsen and spread.
Testing Can Guide Treatment
The standard “trial and error” approach to medication selection can fail to identify the best initial treatment. This can result in unpleasant and unnecessary side effects, and may increase the amount of time symptoms are endured without the proper therapeutic benefits.
Pharmacogenomic testing (studying how one’s genetic makeup, or genotype, influences their response to drugs) can be a vital component of precision medicine, providing valuable guidance for medication selection and dosage. Results from these tests may make it more feasible to determine the right treatment and dosage, at the right time.
Similarly, genetic testing for gene mutation in two tumor suppressor genes (BRAC1 and BRAC2) helps determine a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a family history of breast cancer, this testing may help determine the frequency of necessary breast cancer screenings and other preventative treatment.
Testing Can Provide Relief
Though it’s normal to feel anxious while awaiting test results, the power that knowledge can provide may eventually reduce longer-term anxiety and stress. Test results may pave the way for a positive plan of action that could result in improved overall health and longevity.
At LifeBrite Labs, we provide a variety of testing services, including molecular pathology, carrier testing, respiratory pathogen profile (RPP and RP2), and LBL ICGX cancer screenings. We are committed to quality diagnostics with rapid turnaround times, and EMR integration. Contact us online or call (678) 433-0607 to learn more about our process and test availability.