Fear of the unknown, cost, and a lack of awareness around preventative health screenings have been revealed as the top three reasons that a staggering onein- two (50 per cent) of the Irish public are putting off potentially life-saving tests and checks. The research findings have been revealed recently as part of a major campaign that aims to heighten awareness of the critical importance of preventative screening and provide the public with useful information around the most important and most relevant health screening at different ages and life stages. The research findings reinforce the important role that screening plays in the early detection and treatment of a wide variety of health conditions.
While a large portion of the population are putting off health checks, 80 per cent of people said they understand the importance of preventative healthcare screening. Of those who have participated in screening, more than a third (32 per cent) identified a condition that they were unaware of. Of these, 55 per cent required medical treatment and 38 per cent needed to make lifestyle changes. For a quarter of people (25 per cent) who found a condition through screening, the issue could have been terminal if not identified. Awareness levels amongst the public of certain health screenings are high (including female cancer screenings, blood tests, blood pressure and cholesterol), but fall to well below 50 per cent for other important tests like male cancer screening (39 per cent), bone density scanning (32 per cent), genetic cancer screening (27 per cent), and cardiac screening (44 per cent). Unsurprisingly, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing barriers and has added a new dimension to the fear that is acting as a barrier to public participation.
Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of people have been less willing to attend screenings due to the ongoing pandemic, with 39 per cent stating that they are afraid of attending the hospital due to Covid-19. The campaign was supported by laya healthcare. A free-to-access educational hub featuring key information and assets is now available at layahealthcare.ie/ healthscreening.