French word of the Day: Dépistage

French word of the Day: Dépistage
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This is a word you are likely to hear a lot at present as France grapples with its strategy to end the strict, nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

Why do I need to know dépistage?

It's in the news a lot at present, but it also has important wider meanings.

What does it mean?

It means testing or screening, usually in a medical or scientific context.

It's knocking around in French headlines a lot at present because many people think that the government's coronavirus testing programme has not been widespread enough.


So to use some recent examples

Coronavirus: un “drive-in” de dépistage du Covid-19 – A 'drive-thru' testing centre for Covid19

Dépister tous les résidents dans les Ehpad, est-ce vraiment une bonne idée? – Screening all residents in Ehpads [nursing homes] – is it really a good idea?

But the word of course existed because the current global pandemic, so you might find yourself invited to un dépistage gratuit du cancer du sein pour les femmes entre 50 et 74 ans – a free breast cancer screening session for women aged 50 and 74.

Medical tests

Some of the types of screening you might be offered in France include

Dépistage du cancer du sein – breast cancer screening

Frottis dépistage – cervical smear test or pap smear

Dépistage génetique – screening for genetic conditions

Dépistage du VIH – HIV screening 

READ ALSO The essential French language you'll need if you're ill



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