Berlin - In Germany, numerous new cancer cases and deaths could be avoided through prevention and early detection - but there is lack of both the necessary structures and the political will. That was the conclusion of press conference in the run-up to the 5th interdisciplinary symposium “Innovations in Oncology”, which is taking place in Berlin today.
Every second German will develop cancer in their lifetime. The current 500,000 new cases per year are estimated to rise to 600,000 in the next ten years.
"Um To master such large numbers, all that remains is to invest more in research, "said Michael Baumann, Scientific Director and CEO of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg," but not only - as before - in researching new diagnostic options and therapies, but also into new approaches to prevention and early detection ”.
Baumann praised the National Decade Against Cancer, which was proclaimed in January and aims to bring together all those involved in research and treatment and to better position them. Brand new for Germany: Although the Federal Ministry of Research () advanced the decade, the Federal Ministry of Health () would also participate, said Baumann. The classic boundaries would be left out for common goal.
The professor of radiation oncology spoke out in favor of "ambitious goals": "We actually want to prevent ten percent more preventable diseases every ten years." And the cancer survival rate of 62 percent is already good in an international comparison, "but in ten years we want to be able to guarantee three out of four cancer patients that they will survive at least five years".
That in order to achieve these goals, drastic rethink Christa Maar, Managing Director of the Felix Burda Foundation, emphasized that “there has been lack of prevention intelligence and prevention practice in the German health system.” Even established measures for early detection are inadequately implemented.
Only fraction of that the target group is reached is participation the rates of existing programs, such as colonoscopy for colorectal cancer prevention, are far too low. She particularly criticized unnecessary obstacles and the all too scientifically correct information about the meaning and purpose of an early diagnosis examination, which does not sufficiently motivate people to participate. An explanation that motivates to participate is often incompatible with an "informed decision".
Participation in early detection must be easy
In addition, one must make it easy for people to take part in early detection examinations, the President of the Network Against Colon Cancer continues: In Germany For example, estimates assumed that in future only around 20 percent would take part in bowel cancer screening using stool tests. In the Netherlands, 70 percent would be achieved, according to Maar. There, people would get the test sent home with the invitation letter. In this country, the participants would have to pick up the test from the doctor first, then carry it out at home and then bring it back to the practice.
There are also colleagues in the medical profession who are not capable of the early detection of cancer Baumann admitted when asked. He sees the reason for this, among other things, in the fact that the topics of prevention and early detection are severely underrepresented in the training of doctors. Here, too, something has to change.
"The time is ripe for paradigm shift in oncology," said Christof von Kalle, Chair of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at the Charité and founding director of the BIH Charité study center. "We have to make decision at the social level to no longer find cancer deaths acceptable - as was the case in the past with accidents and deaths in road traffic."
In addition, cancer is seen as common problem - " and not the individual's fault ”- and view prevention as cost-effective. So far we have been trying to solve problem that affects half of the people with fifteenth of the health expenditure, ”says von Kalle.