Oncologists: screening for cancer screening

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DGHO advocates critical examination of previous cancer screening

The German Society for Hematology and Medical Oncology (DGHO) is in favor of a critical examination of previous cancer screening offers in Germany. This was pointed out by the DGHO board at yesterday's meeting. Accordingly, certain procedures could provide the patient with security, but at the same time also lead to high stress.

In some areas, there was also a lack of knowledge to assess the early detection measures that apply specifically to Germany, according to the DGHO. Existing studies, such as breast cancer screening, would refer to other countries such as the United States. The experts call for early cancer detection, which is based on the current state of medical knowledge.

Cancer screening should be based on the current state of knowledge in medicine "Certain methods of early cancer detection can help reduce cancer mortality rates," emphasized Professor Mathias Freund. “The necessary examinations provide the participants with security, but they can also be a burden and possibly lead to overdiagnosis or even over therapy. Dealing with cancer must be based on the current state of medical knowledge, even in the case of early detection. ”The rapid expansion of specialist knowledge requires a regular review of the currently implemented measures for cancer detection.

Professor Ulrich Bick, deputy director at the Institute for Radiology at Charité Berlin, pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of early detection of breast cancer. "Breast cancer mortality can be reduced by about 20 to 30 percent by regular mammography screening every two years in women between 50 and 69 years old." However, the benefit of the study is not the same for all women. There are women with a very dense glandular parenchyma, for whom, in addition to mammography, examinations such as sonography or magnetic resonance imaging of the breast make sense. In addition, risk groups would have to be given greater consideration. “In women with a strong family burden or a proven genetic disposition for breast cancer, early detection of breast cancer should be started much earlier and at shorter intervals. In these women, magnetic resonance imaging of the breast is of much greater importance in early detection, ”explained Bick. The radiologist also criticized that the expansion of cancer registries in Germany was inadequate, so that there was no insight into the development of mortality. There are therefore hardly any studies in Germany to assess early detection measures. The findings relate to studies in other countries such as the USA or Scandinavia. "We therefore do not know the effect of screening in Germany," said Bick.

Better early detection necessary for lung cancer The DGHO also calls for improved early detection for lung cancer. Dr. Wilfried Eberhardt, Managing Director at the West German Lung Cancer Center in Essen, reported an encouraging trend. "After decades of stagnation in early detection, in 2011 and in the advanced analyzes in the major National Lung Screening Trial in the United States, for the first time, a relevant reduction in lung cancer-related mortality by approximately 20 percent and overall mortality by six percent was achieved by the sole introduction of three early detection examinations using low-dose computed tomography. ”Lung cancer is still the leading cause of death among cancers. Eberhardt therefore advocates a clearly structured and predictive early detection program for high-risk groups with long-term nicotine consumption in Germany.

A current volume of the health policy publication series of the DGHO with the title "Cancer screening in Germany 2014" provides information on the current status. Among other things, it explains methods and procedures for cancer screening and their risks, therapeutic options, risk factors and prevention for the listed types of cancer. "Cancer research is constantly providing new insights," explained Professor Bernhard Wörmann, Medical Director of the DGHO. "For this reason, early cancer detection measures must also be regularly checked for their effectiveness: omitting the superfluous and harmful, integrating new and meaningful, ensuring quality in the existing programs."

In a communication, the DGHO also calls for a "transparent benefit assessment of the programs now financed by the health insurance companies in terms of reducing mortality, avoiding the burden of advanced cancer and the costs". (ag)

Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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