With so many clinics and spas vying for your attention, knowing which health tests and treatments are worth your dirhams can be dizzying. This month, we look into health screening packages and find out which warrant the spend when insurance won’t foot the bill

THE TREATMENT

Digital mole mapping at Euromed Clinic

WHO’S IT FOR?

Given the UAE’s climate, it’s a rare person who wouldn’t benefit from this safety-first approach. Skin cancer can be easily treated when spotted early, and this screening programme aims to identify any problematic moles before they become symptomatic.

THE CONSULTATION

While being sensible with sunscreen is pretty standard practice for most, there’s no question that many of us get more sunshine than we did at home – and for light skinned expats, that can be a particular problem. While I’m always cautious when sunning myself by the pool, there’s no question I can be a little lax during the week, and while facial sunscreen is a daily ritual, I’m definitely guilty of heading out in the morning without protecting the skin on my arms and neck and, as a result, I’ve noticed an increasing number of freckles and moles appearing in those areas in recent years. While I’m a little nervous about what Dr Irena Ivanovska might find in my appointment, she’s very personable and immediately puts me at ease (at least until I realise that, having forgotten about my appointment in the morning rush, I’m wearing my very worst laundry day pants. Word from the wise, you will have to strip down to your underwear, so try and wear some that is at least presentable). I lie down on the examination bed and Dr Ivanovska methodically scans my whole body, using a small hand-held device called a dermoscope to examine all my areas of visible sun exposure. The process is entirely painless, just like having a torch pressed gently on to your skin, but I’m assured the powerful little device can detect changes in pre-existing moles that make it far easier to determine cancerous and pre-cancerous melanocytic lesions. Thankfully, I’m assured that the vast majority of my ‘moles’ are actually dark freckles, and that the moles I do have all look well. That said, the sheer number of freckles on the areas I commonly expose to the sun do earn me a warning about the importance of daily sunscreen application on all unclothed areas, especially on my pale Celtic complexion.

THE VERDICT

The appointment is short and straightforward, but knowing that I have a benchmark from which to watch for changes in my skin is very reassuring. One key to avoiding skin cancer is in watching for changes in moles, and having had my skin checked and knowing which marks actually count as moles, I now feel better able to monitor changes myself, and would happily return the minute I see any change. For me, it’s nothing more than reassuring, but for others, including some of my friends, the discovery of problematic moles at an early stage can prove nothing short of lifesaving – and that’s got to be worth half an hour of anyone’s time.

COST

Dermatology consultations with Dr Ivanovska cost Dhs500 while full digital mole mapping is Dhs1,100. Mole mapping is generally not covered by standard health insurance packages.

Euromed, Villa 611, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 1, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3945422. Taxi: beside First Abu Dhabi Bank, Beach Road. euromedclinicdubai.com

Two more to try…

01 City Centre Clinic’s Gold Package

While we go to the doctor when we are sick, for many across the UAE, a general health check-up is something rarely bothered with. Yet, with so many illnesses beaten more easily when discovered early, a general MOT can be a very good idea. City Centre Clinic offers two packages, for women aged under and over-35.

The treatment

The two packages have been tailored to address the more common health concerns of women in the two age brackets. While both include a full blood count, inflammation test, blood sugar fasting test, a cervical smear and an ECG, a dental consultation is reserved for younger customers. For women over 35, the package includes a calcium test, an abdomen ultrasound, a thyroid profile, gynaecology and breast exams.

Why try it?

Even just a regular cervical smear can be lifesaving. This package allows you to tick it off your to-do list and adds a host of other vital tests into the mix, all in one appointment perfect for those with crazy diaries.

Cost

Dhs1,350 for under-35s, Dhs1,950 for over-35s

City Centre Clinic, City Centre Deira, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9am to 9pm. Tel: (04) 2052777. Metro: Deira City Centre. citycentreclinic.com

02 Healthbay Well Woman & Child’s breast care clinic

While mammograms used to be suggested primarily for older women, with the rise in self-examination, more and more women find themselves needing an appointment with an expert, even if it’s just for peace of mind. As such, Healthbay has created a weekly breast care clinic, removing any difficulty in accessing an experienced specialist.

The treatment

Running every Thursday from 2pm until 5pm, the specialised breast cancer clinic is staffed by specialist Dr Paul Sayad and radiologist Dr Kinda Douaidari. Make an appointment and you can have a consultation, an ultrasound, a mammogram and even a biopsy if needed, with results explained in the same visit. The clinic’s state of the art equipment, unique to Dubai, even offers 3D mammograms that can pick up on the very smallest abnormalities.

Why try it?

If you’ve found a lump, this weekly clinic offers everything you might need in one easily-accessible appointment.

Cost

Dependant on screening and treatment needed. Check with your insurance company.

Healthbay Well Woman & Child Centre, Verve Villas 1-3, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, Sat to Thur 8am to 6pm. Tel: (800) 4272. Taxi: Healthbay Well Woman & Child Centre. healthbayclinic.com