Body checks help you identify problems before they start. Checking in with a doctor to assess your health means early, often asymptomatic, signs of disease can be caught early. Most non-communicable diseases, the most common being cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, are treatable, preventable and much less fatal in their early stages. While there is currently a debate amongst physicians as to how often physical examinations should be provided in public health systems, several countries recommend visiting your physician on an annual basis.
Where can I get a body check in Hong Kong?
Unlike a lot of comparable countries, the Hong Kong public health system does not have a set of recommendations for when various populations should undergo screening tests. Hong Kongers must access body checks in private clinic settings, which are un-regulated and not standardized. This means that packages, costs and user experience vary greatly depending on the provider.
What can I expect from a body check in Hong Kong?
Every body check should begin with a discussion about your family and personal health histories. It’s crucial to be as informed about your family’s health history and as honest as possible with your physician about any habits that may affect your health so they can paint as accurate a picture as possible.
Be aware that some screening tests have the possibility of returning a false-positive. It’s important to understand that there are risks involved with screening tests as well. Please consult your physician for any medical advice.
In the absence of official government recommendations in Hong Kong, we have based guidelines on collected information from comparable countries’ public health systems and expert opinions. With the help of Dr. Kevin Lau 劉仲恒醫生, we have put together a list of particular items that should be included in your next body scan. See our references and methodology at the end of this article.
(1) BODY CHECKS IN HONG KONG FROM 18 YEARS OLD
Genetic screening – optional
Genetic screening analyses your DNA and informs you which non-communicable diseases you are more susceptible to. This does not necessarily mean you will develop this disease but rather which illnesses you are at higher risk of developing. While some people may find this a bit nerve-wracking, it does provide insight into what type of preventative measures you can take to avoid becoming ill.
Genetic screening is available in private clinics across Hong Kong for adults over 18 years old. When considering genetic screening, it’s important to investigate which lab the clinic of your choice uses as the quality varies.
Recommended test: Various (ultrasound, sonography)
Frequency:As per physician
It’s important to note that if you are experiencing new and unexplained symptoms, there is no need to wait for a body check – it is highly recommended to visit your physician.
We have reviewed sources from The US Preventative Services Task Force; The American Cancer Society; the US-based National Institute of Health, the Australian, Canadian, UK, and New Zealand Department of Healths’ respective screening programs. Some of the recommendations in these sources are based on cost-effective population-level screening, some are based on the best age for individuals to begin looking for these diseases. In order to reflect the most comprehensive individual-level recommendations, the advice provided here is based on the lowest age provided by any of our sources.
For our cancer recommendations, we reviewed the top ten cancers in Hong Kong, based on incidence. We have included those cancers that had published screening recommendations on the US Preventative Services Task Force website.
Cancers which don’t have screening recommendations but that are in the Hong Kong top 10 cancers (by incidence) are:
Prostate cancer – guidelines for prostate cancer are currently being reviewed.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – no recommended test
Liver cancer – only recommended for those who have risk factors, symptoms or as recommended by your physician. More information can be found here.
Looking for health insurance? Want to better understand your current plan or healthcare options in Hong Kong? Contact our partner AD MediLink now at [email protected] or +852 2296 9773 for expert and unbiased advice. Their advisors are uniquely trained on the Hong Kong healthcare system to answer all your questions; on both the public and private sectors.
Dr Kevin Lau 劉仲恒醫生 graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong and is currently the Medical Director at Trinity Medical Imaging Centre in Central. He is qualified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists (United Kingdom), The Hong Kong College of Radiologists and The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine. He obtained his Master in Public Health & Master in Public Administration from the University of Hong Kong.
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and not sponsored. It is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.