How much benefit does colorectal cancer screening have?



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The benefit of colorectal cancer early diagnosis is underdeveloped for people under 55

"The benefit of colorectal cancer early detection with family risk is unclear for patients under the age of 55," reports the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) in a recent press release. According to IQWiG, there are no suitable studies here to clearly prove the benefits of early detection. Some media are now reporting that colon cancer screening would be useless for this group of people. "That is wrong," say experts. Rather, the "data situation" is currently too low to make specific recommendations.

"It is unclear whether people who are under the age of 55 and whose families already have a member of colorectal cancer can benefit from a screening test," the experts at IQWiG explain in their final report published on Friday on the benefits of screening tests for familial colorectal cancer risk . The IQWiG clearly stated that 55-year-olds with at least one colon cancer case are at a 1.7 to 4.1 times higher risk of colon cancer in relatives of the first degree than peers whose colorectal cancer has not yet occurred in their relatives. But this does not allow any direct conclusions to be drawn about the meaning of early detection examinations.

The right to colon cancer early detection Colon cancer or a so-called colorectal cancer is "the second most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer-related death in both men and women," the experts report. A family cluster can be observed in around 25 percent of cases. All insured persons aged 50 to 54 years are entitled to early detection examinations in the form of a stool examination once a year and, in the event of abnormal findings, in the form of a large colonoscopy (colonoscopy). From the age of 55, the insured can choose whether to take a stool test every two years or to have a large colonoscopy, reports the IQWiG. Here, however, politicians have lifted the fixed age limits with the Cancer Early Detection and Registration Act, which has been in force since April 2013, in order to make it easier for groups at particularly high risk to be screened for colorectal cancer.

Lack of studies on the benefit of colorectal cancer screening According to its own information, the IQWiG was commissioned to “check whether under 55-year-olds with relatives suffering from colorectal cancer have an increased risk of developing their own disease and how reliably they can be identified.” Auf Based on the results, a decision should be made on a possible extension of the right to early detection examinations. However, according to the experts at IQWiG, the poor data situation does not allow a statement on the benefits of early examinations in patients under the age of 55. (fp)

Image: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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