New diagnostic method for breast cancer

A new diagnostic procedure for breast cancer is paid for by the health insurance for the first time. Many chemotherapy therapies could be a thing of the past, the experts hope.

The Bremen Health Insurance Fund (HKK) is the first health insurance company in Germany to cover the treatment costs of the special breast cancer test "uPA / PAI-1". In this way, the diagnosis of the almost 58,000 women who develop breast cancer in this country each year could be considerably simplified. The new method can also be used in many cases to avoid the chemotherapy that has been customary up to now with the known, serious side effects.

Breast cancer test: 400 Euro deductible so far The so-called “uPA / PAI-1 test” has been recognized worldwide as a reliable diagnostic method since 2007, but has so far only been offered by a few hospitals in Germany and has not been paid for by health insurance companies. Hkk has now changed this in a first step and has agreed to be the first German health insurance fund to fundamentally cover the costs for the “uPA / PAI-1 test”. Michael Lempe of the hkk board explained: “So far, the test has only been carried out regularly in a few hospitals. For cost reasons, those affected had to pay 400 euros. We are changing that now. "

Health insurance promises hope The "uPA / PAI-1 test" is unknown to many women, but it does offer good chances of not having to undergo chemotherapy after surgery. The director of the Halle University Clinic, Dr. med. Christoph Thomssen: “Not all women suffering from breast cancer need chemotherapy after the operation. If there is no lymph node involvement in the armpit area, this tissue analysis can be used to determine the risk of metastasis. ”Dr. Mustafa Aydogdu, chief physician of the Breast Cancer Center at the Bremen-Mitte Clinic, added: "This means that one in four breast cancer sufferers can be spared the stressful chemotherapy." The experts agree that the announced cost absorption by hkk is "an important step".

On Wednesday, the hkk signed a corresponding contract for the assumption of costs with the University Clinic Halle, which operates one of the specialist laboratories for the examinations of the "uPA / PAI-1 test". Research on the “uPA / PAI-1 test” has been ongoing in Germany since the end of the 1980s, with numerous studies confirming the reliability of the diagnostic procedure and the test is considered scientifically and clinically sound in the professional world today. If the values ​​found in the tumor biological test are low, the patients who did not have lymph node involvement in the armpit can be spared chemotherapy with the corresponding side effects.

“UPA / PAI-1 test” can avoid chemotherapy According to hkk's board of directors Michael Lempe, the “uPA / PAI-1 test” should generally belong to the general standard of care in medical care, since it can be a significant relief for those affected . Henceforth, the hkk will assume all costs that the “uPA / PAI-1 test” entails. The method itself is based on the examination of fresh tumor tissue for two protein molecules, explained Martina Vetter from the research laboratory in Halle. If the determined value is high, it is a malignant tumor cell that tends to form metastases and necessitate chemotherapy, according to the expert. "If the values ​​are low, the tumor will not spread (on the other hand) and it would not respond to chemo," emphasized Martina Vetter. Vetter, in contrast to Dr. Mustafa Aydogdu even assumes that in the future not just a quarter but almost half of those affected could be treated without chemotherapy. A reason for hope for the growing number of breast cancer patients. Germany-wide, breast cancer (breast cancer) is the most common cancer in women with a share of 28 percent of all new cancers, with an average of 30 percent of patients dying as a result of the disease. (fp, 11.11.2010)

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Breast cancer in men
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Dramatic increase in cancer expected
Breast Cancer: Do Costs Prevent Better Screening?

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