Berlin / Heidelberg - Colon cancer screening by means of colonoscopy makes lot of sense: The statutory screening program can reduce the number of bowel cancer cases annually by more than quarter in the long term. This is what scientists from the German Cancer Research Center () in Heidelberg and the (Zi) in the European Journal of Cancer) report.
Germany introduced colonoscopies in 2002 as part of the statutory cancer screening program. Statutory health insurance companies have since covered the costs of colonoscopy screening for members aged 55 and over. The investigation should be repeated after ten years.
The scientists from DKFZ and Zi have the results for their study evaluated by 4.4 million patients. The basis for the calculation is mathematical model developed by Hermann Brenner at the DKFZ, which, in addition to the colonoscopy findings and mortality expectations in the German resident population, also takes into account, among other things, the frequency with which and in what period of time various pre-stages of colon cancer develop into malignant cancer.
The epidemiologists come to the conclusion that the screening prevents up to 16,000 new cases per year in the long term - with an incidence of 63,000 per year, that is more than quarter. "If one takes into account the expected advancing life expectancy, the numbers could be even higher," said Lutz Altenhofen (Zi), one of the co-authors of the study.
"We therefore very much hope that the results will inspire confidence promote in the screening, "said Brenner. He points out that the effects could be much greater, since so far only minority of the population has taken advantage of the early detection services. Above all, it is desirable that men take part in the early detection colonoscopy more often, since they developed colon cancer more often and on average five years earlier than women.