The LifeScan Experience
Preventative health checks can range in complexity and budget, from the most basic nurse-led checks that take minutes to carry out, through to the most comprehensive full-day medical tests and scans. For David Jordan, senior consultant at IHC, the idea of preventative medicine makes perfect sense – after all, why wait until illness becomes a problem when you may be able to catch it, and treat it, in the very early stages? He took a LifeScan health check, which can reveal the early signs of heart disease, lung cancer, colon cancer and other illnesses, even before symptoms begin. Here, David explains how the process works and the peace of mind it has brought him.
DAVID JORDAN: I’m a great fan of preventative medicine, so when LifeScan first made their services available to the public a little over five years ago, I knew it was for me. I wanted to find out if there was anything that could be discovered about my health which conventional medicine might not pick up before symptoms become apparent. Five years on, I was invited to attend again – and once again, I jumped at the opportunity.
Preventative medicine in the form of immunisations, vaccines, fluoride (in our water and toothpaste) and breast screening has been with us for years, and has saved many lives and reduced the need for a great deal of treatment. When I fly, I take an aspirin and wear (not very glamorous) pressure socks to minimise the chance of deep vein thrombosis> Even this is a fort of preventative medicine. So why not use modern technology to take a look inside my body in order to spot early signs of illness?
Perhaps the only reason ‘why not’ would be that LifeScan uses a CT scanner to do the looking. That means that I would be exposed to x-rays during the process, and some medical practitioners discourage unnecessary exposure to x-rays. That said, I live in Cornwall, part of the UK with the highest levels of background radioactivity, and I spend a considerable number of hours each year in aeroplanes – both of which increase my exposure to natural radiation. Given that we all have a 1 in 3 chance of getting cancer at some point in our lives, and given that a CT scanner adds only marginally to the radiation I would otherwise be exposed to, I have taken the view that, for me, the additional radiation is inconsequential.
So, what does the LifeScan process involve? In order to get clear pictures of my colon, I went on a ‘low residue’ diet two days before the scan and then move on to a ‘clear liquids only’ diet for the last 24 hours. Two doses of a powerful oral laxative during the final 24 hours helped ensure that I would be entirely empty by the time I went through the scanner.
On the day, I travelled to The Spire Hospital in Bristol, and after a lung capacity test, I changed into suitable hospital garb for the scan. In simple terms, the CT scanner is a large upright doughnut-shaped contraption, with a movable bed which can slide through the centre of the doughnut. To begin with, I just had to lie on the bed, take deep breaths when I was told to, and relax the rest of the time. Then, in order to get a good picture of the colon, carbon dioxide gas has to be ‘introduced’ to the body to inflate the colon and bowel using a very small diameter tube. Apart from the fleeting abdominal discomfort, the only consideration was whether I would overcome my embarrassment for the technician charged with the job! After two passes through the scanner, I had blood samples taken.
Within a week, the report arrived in the post, revealing a slippage between my L5 and S1 vertebra and marginally elevated cholesterol level. No cause for concern and no need for treatment – I expect to be invited back for another preventative scan in 2019.
These scans are not cheap. Mine cost over £900, but given that you will not be invited to re-attend for five years, I consider the annualised £180 cost to be well worth the money – if only for the peace of mind they can provide.
To find out more about LifeScan, contact David Jordan firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 427 0659.
Click here to view a recent article published by The Guardian focusing on the link between wellbeing and life satisfaction.
IHC have negotiated preferential rates for any client wishing to avail themselves of LifeScan’s services. Please contact David Jordan if you wish to learn more, or follow this link for more information about the different types of LifeScan, and pricing.