What constitutes a comprehensive health assessment?

I am often asked by patients whether the health assessment they have undergone or are thinking of doing is comprehensive. There are a bewildering array of health assessments available to the general public with a vast difference in price range. As a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, having operated on thousands of patients, it became increasingly obvious to me that prevention was far better than cure. It's clear that the vast majority of illnesses and death are caused by Cancer, Heart Disease and Strokes. So, it follows that the ability to accurately identify if a client is at risk for these three disease processes is vital in a comprehensive health assessment.


Early detection of cancer is critical. When detected at an advanced stage, the survival rate for lung cancer is less than 10%, but when detected at the earliest stage, this rises to 70%.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest killer in the developed world, but survival rates soar to over 95% when diagnosed early.

In order to definitively establish if you have any early signs of cancer, your assessment should include CT and/or MRI Imaging of all organ systems including a colonoscopy which can be done non invasively by CT or MRI. Genetic blood tests are an optional extra in specific cases such as patients with strong family histories of breast or colon cancer.

Heart disease

A number of well known current health assessments assess heart disease by performing an exercise test. As a cardiac specialist, I know that the predictive value of this test is low and one could pass the exercise test with flying colours and yet have unsuspected and undiagnosed significant heart disease. This has particular significance when the statistics show that 30% of people do not survive their first heart attack.

The only definitive way to establish if a patient has coronary artery disease is to perform a coronary artery angiogram which can now be done non invasively by CT coronary angiogram.


Up to 30% of people remain permanently disabled after a stroke, this can be avoided by identifying early predisposition to strokes by performing CT or MRI imaging of the cerebral and carotid arterial systems.


The only health assessment that ticks every box is the Private Harley Street Clinic (PHSC) assessment, which is a no stone left unturned exercise whereby the report at the end definitively answers the questions that needs to be answered. Are you at risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke or any other major disease? Yes or no.

Below is a comparison table which shows how these well known health assessments compare to the Private Harley Street Clinic (PHSC) assessment.











Comprehensive blood tests

Review by clinician

Comprehensive Cancer screening

(MRI/CT all major organs)

MRI/CT colonoscopy

Definitive CT coronary angiogram


MRI/CT of cerebral and carotid vessels

Lung Spirometry


Breast and gynaecological screening

Testes ultrasound for men

Post assessment debrief

Specialist Panel Aftercare clinic


Written by Mr Mark Ali

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