3 questions for ... Dr. med. Carl-Heinz Müller, board member of the KBV
Dr. Carl-Heinz Müller, member of the board of the KBV
The Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance has presented figures on the participation of insured persons in the early detection of colon cancer. Do you think the participation is sufficient? Mller: The participation rates in preventive colon cancer examinations have already risen in recent years. This shows that the appeals to the insured have made difference. However, so far by far not all of the beneficiaries, i.e. people over 55 years of age, have taken part in the screening colonoscopy, which is free of charge for them. That is far from being enough and it spurs us on to continue our commitment to ensure that more people take part in the potentially life-saving examinations. Federal Health Minister Rösler has spoken out against other regulated invitation procedures in cancer early detection, such as mammography screening. How useful do you think such procedure was for colon cancer prevention? Mller: We think it is important that the idea of precaution is strengthened in the population. That is why KBV and KVen have started their own prevention initiative. A targeted and modified invitation procedure is intended to raise awareness among citizens. This would be followed by detailed briefing, in which the doctor and patient would work together to determine whether colonoscopy might be useful in the case of colon cancer screening. Critics believe it is unproven that the benefits of cancer screening outweigh the potential harm. What is your personal assessment of the colonoscopy, do you consider it to be necessary early detection examination? Mller: Detecting and treating colon cancer in its preliminary stages is the aim of the preventive examination. This type of cancer is very slow to develop, but it is extremely dangerous. So colonoscopy can save lives. In addition, this is quality-assured service. The patient's health is always the top priority. However, further efforts are required in the task of discovering family-related risk factors. We also want to increase the participation rate and the quality of the examination for occult blood in the stool.