Regular health screenings are an important part of preventive healthcare. Being proactive with these screenings allows you to detect signs and symptoms of developing conditions or illnesses early, helping to make sure treatment is as easy and effective as possible.
On top of the kinds of health screening everyone should undertake routinely, there are also a number of tests women should undergo regularly to help identify or prevent women's health issues, which we'll discuss below.
Screening for Breast Cancer and Human Papillomavirus
Two types of health screenings that women should undergo regularly once they reach a certain age are mammograms and Pap smears, for breast cancer and human papillomavirus respectively.
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. It is the most common cancer in women worldwide; with over 2 million new cases in 2018 alone. Despite this, women tend to be oblivious to it at the early stages because the symptoms are quite subtle. But early detection is the key to survival if breast cancer develops because at later stages it can cause serious complications and become harder to cure.
Besides doing a self-examination to check for any lumps, women should go for a mammogram annually from age 50. You should also start discussing it earlier with your doctor to see if you should go for breast ultrasounds or mammograms before turning 50.
Human Papillomavirus Detection
Another serious disease that women must look out for is the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus causes precancerous changes in the cervix that may develop into cervical cancer. You can protect yourself from cervical cancer by getting a Pap smear once every three years from 25 years old onwards. Thus it is best to go for regular screenings and take note of the following:
- Make an appointment 14 days after starting your period as the blood cells shed can affect the accuracy of results.
- Inform your doctor if you feel pain during the process.
- Go for screening even if you are vaccinated as 10% to 30% cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV subtypes, which the vaccines do not prevent.
- The risk of cervical cancer increases with age, so make it a habit to get tested even if you don’t feel any symptoms.
How April help you cope with the costs of these health screenings
Some of the most important preventive screenings for women are Mammograms and Pap Smears. This is why after listening to its customers, APRIL International now includes in coverage for these tests in all of our MyHEALTH insurance plans in Singapore. Mammograms are covered for women age 40 and above and Pap smears are covered for women aged 19 and above, when you subscribe to:
- Hospitalisation only (inpatient): mammograms and Pap smears are covered up to SG$300 (for all levels of coverage, Essential, Extensive and Elite) per year
- With the addition of an outpatient coverage module: mammograms and Pap smears are covered up to SG$300 for the Essential level of cover, SG$500 for Extensive, and fully covered under Elite levels of cover.
Our plans are modular, allowing you to choose both what benefit modules you want in addition to your hospitalisation & surgery cover, as well as the level of cover for each module.
Other essential screenings for comprehensive healthcare
Aside from Pap smears and mammograms, there are also a few more general health screenings that everyone should be routinely performing in order to detect any potential medical issues early.
Fasting Blood Glucose Test
A blood glucose test is typically used to test for type 1 & 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and occasionally hypoglycaemia by determining how much glucose is in the blood. Diabetes is a chronic disease that can cause permanent damage to your eyes, nerves and heart. Although it is not curable in most cases, it is manageable and precautions can be taken to limit the complexities involved. It is recommended to get a Fasting Blood Glucose test once every three years, as with careful monitoring, you may discover you have prediabetes and be able make lifestyle changes in order to prevent it from progressing into type 2 diabetes. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should be extra careful with your diet and exercise regularly as a preventive measure.
Fasting Lipid Blood test for Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a kind of fat found in our body and most foods, and comes in two types: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL is referred to as "bad" cholesterol, and higher levels of this fat in your blood can be detrimental for your health. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart diseases, heart attacks and strokes. Getting your cholesterol levels checked every three years starting from your 40s becomes vital to make sure you're staying in good health.
Blood pressure test
A blood pressure test is critical to ensure that the arteries are in good condition because weakened or damaged arteries become less elastic and might clog up, which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Thus, anyone above the age of 18 years should get their blood pressure tested regularly. BP readings would give you the Systolic and the Diastolic blood pressure, which can determine your BP category:
|Systolic Blood Pressure (Top Number) in mmHg||Diastolic Blood Pressure (Bottom Number) in mmHg||Category|
|Below 130||Below 85||Normal|
|130 to 139||85 to 89||High Normal|
|Equal to or more than 140||Equal to or more than 90||High Blood Pressure|
Annual screenings are recommended if you have diastolic blood of 80-89 mmHg or systolic blood pressure of 130-139 mmHg. For people with higher blood pressures, you should monitor it more frequently.
MyHEALTH insurance plans in Singapore offer coverage for the above mentioned tests, as well as other health screenings and vaccinations as part of our outpatient coverage module, with up to SG$1,000 of coverage at the Extensive level of cover and SG$2,500 at the Elite level of coverage.
Where to go for women's health screening packages in Singapore
Singapore has a robust healthcare system with a range of both public and private healthcare facilities, many of which support early detection and prevention though offering health screening packages. Many of these medical providers will often have screening packages specifically for women, which may include either cervical cancer screening (pap smear) or mammography or both, among other tests. Most will provide a variety of packages, ranging from cheaper options which may focus on a few critical screening tests to more upscale options which will include a full battery of tests in the package.
Public healthcare providers:
- Singapore General Hospital
Private healthcare providers:
- Raffles Women Centre
- Mount Alvernia Hospital
- Parkway East Hospital
- StarMed Specialist Centre
- Nuffield Medical Siglap
Healthcare providers in APRIL International's Network:
Comprehensive health insurance coverage in Singapore
APRIL International offers a range of flexible medical insurance products to make sure can rest easy knowing you have the coverage you need, when you need it. From hospitalisation only plans, to comprehensive benefits packages to cover your outpatient, dental and maternity needs, our plans can be tailored to suit your personal situation. Discover more about the coverage and services you can expect with a MyHEALTH insurance plan in Singapore: