What are the Different Types of Screening Test?

Nat Robinson

A screening test is used to examine an individual for a disease or a health disorder. Most screening tests are done in an effort to catch a disease in its earliest stage, preferably before the onset of symptoms. Individuals with a history of certain diseases in the family may more frequently undergo certain screening tests to determine if there are any early signs that the disease may develop. Some common types of a screening tests include a mammogram, pap test, electrocardiogram, and a prostate examination. Other common tests are a colonoscopy, eye examination, and imaging tests, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

An MRI scan may be used to screen patients for certain conditions.
An MRI scan may be used to screen patients for certain conditions.

Preventive screening is commonly done in hopes of preventing a disease from occurring. An individual with preexisting signs of a disease may undergo a screening test in order to be advised on how to keep the disease at bay. For example, undergoing blood glucose tests can be a source of medical screening for an individual who does not have diabetes, but who is showing signs that the disease may develop. A physician may be able to advise the patient on things to do to keep the risk of developing diabetes low.

Electrocardiograms record electrical impulses in a person's heart.
Electrocardiograms record electrical impulses in a person's heart.

Mammograms are an important health screening for women, especially in families in which breast cancer has affected many members. This diagnostic examination can show abnormalities in the breast tissue. The Papanicolaou test, commonly referred to as a pap smear, is a screening test used to detect abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix, including precancerous cells.

Mammograms are a type of screening test used to detect breast abnormalities.
Mammograms are a type of screening test used to detect breast abnormalities.

An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a screening test given to examine the electrical activity of the heart. If a doctor is looking to confirm or rule out a particular heart condition, this is commonly one of the first cardiovascular tests given. The test may also be part of a wellness screening examination.

A prostate exam is another common test to screen men for abnormalities in the prostate. This screening will commonly include a physical examination of the prostate and a blood test. Prostate cancer often causes few symptoms in its early stages, so a screening test can help to catch any abnormalities early.

A colonoscopy is a common medical screening used to detect cancer of the colon. Abnormalities of the large intestine, also known as the colon, can be detected and biopsies obtained with this type of test. Individuals with family histories of colon cancer may undergo a colonoscopy more frequently than an individual without familial history.

When a doctor suspects a disease or disorder, a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be given to screen for abnormalities or diseases in the body. These tests can provide detailed images of bones, organs, muscles, and tissues thorough highly technical computer images. Though more commonly used for diagnosis, these tests may be useful for screening in cases where there is a high risk of certain diseases.

It can be very beneficial for a patient to see the doctor for a screening test with the first indication that a problem may be present. Many conditions can be caught early and many others can be prevented entirely by undergoing screening tests. A healthcare professional should be consulted about the most appropriate test to screen for individual health issues or concerns.

A pap smear is a diagnostic tool used to detect early signs of cervical cancer.
A pap smear is a diagnostic tool used to detect early signs of cervical cancer.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Cafe41- I heard that there was a cognitive screening test called TYM which stands for Test Your Memory that has been able to detect Alzheimers and Dementia in over 90% of the cases.

The test is easy to administer and only takes about five minutes to complete. Patients are given mental calculations, recall tests, and questions to measure their verbal articulation in order to measure the level of cognitive ability.

This Dementia screening test is really easy for patients to participate in and give pretty accurate results.


Suntan12 - I just wanted to add that my friend’s son was diagnosed with ADHD and they used a spectrometry scan in order to confirm his diagnosis.

The spectrometry scan actually takes pictures of the brain waves to compare someone with ADHD with a normal brain. This is really the most scientific and up to date method used for this diagnosis.

A pediatric neurologist should be able to confirm the diagnosis with this tool. The behavior checklist that most doctors ask parents to fill out regarding their child's behavior is really not accurate because the symptoms of ADHD mirror so many other conditions that it is really hard to pinpoint if the child has the condition or not that way.

In fact about 60% of children receive a misdiagnosis of ADHD. I know sometimes children are actually gifted but exhibit signs of restlessness because they are actually bored in their school.

This is why it is best to seek a an ADHD screening test at a children’s hospital because there you will get a comprehensive analysis and all of the specialists are house.

Miami Children’s Hospital offers screenings and comprehensive treatments for ADHD and it is one of the best children's hospitals in the country.


SauteePan -I had that done too when I was pregnant. I did not like the fasting part.

I also remember my pregnancy screening test. It was a simple blood and urine test to see if the HCG hormone was detected in my system.

This is how my doctor confirmed that I was pregnant. I already knew that I was pregnant because of an at home test, but I know that sometimes there can be a false positive.

At least with my OB I could be sure about my pregnancy and have an estimation of my due date.


I remember when I was about 16 weeks pregnant I was given a glucose screening test in order to determine if I had gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy and if you do have it, once you give birth the condition ceases.

I had to fast for twelve hours and then drink an orange syrupy drink that tasted like orange soda. I had to wait for one hour to see if the there was a problem with my blood sugar.

Luckily I did not have gestational diabetes.

Post your comments
Forgot password?