Better chances of recovery: When the health insurance company pays for colorectal cancer screening
Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in Germany, killing around 26,000 patients a year. According to experts, thousands of deaths could be prevented if more people took the preventive check-up. The health insurance companies cover the costs for this - but only from a certain age.
Early detection can save lives
According to health experts, colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death for men after prostate and lung cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death for women after breast cancer in Germany. As with many other types of cancer, the earlier the disease is recognized, the higher the chances of recovery. There are various preventive examinations for this, such as colonoscopy. These are particularly important if colon cancer has already occurred in the family. What the insured should know: The health insurance companies only cover the costs under certain conditions.
Prevents thousands of deaths
An analysis by scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg shows why colonoscopy is so important.
According to the experts, colonoscopy in Germany probably prevented more than 25,000 colorectal cancer deaths in the years 2008 to 2011.
Early detection can save lives because benign changes that may later lead to malignant tumors can be removed directly in this examination.
Preventive colonoscopy from age 55
But when should you have a colonoscopy? On the one hand, colonoscopy is used as a diagnostic procedure, for example to clarify medical suspicions.
In addition, preventive colonoscopy is paid for by the health insurance company from the age of 56. However, if someone has a family history, they also bear the costs in younger years.
According to experts, it would make sense to aim for a new age limit and to recommend colonoscopy from the age of 50.
Hidden blood test in the stool
As the Federal Association for Health Information and Consumer Protection informs in a message from the dpa news agency, statutory health insurance companies cover the costs of certain preventive medical examinations from the age of 50.
Insured persons can then have the haemoccult test done free of charge once a year - this checks whether they have blood in their stools.
If there is blood in it, this can be a first indication of a pathological change in the intestinal tissue. Loss of appetite and weight loss can also indicate an illness - as well as complaints such as cramps, abdominal pain, feeling of fullness and indigestion.
These symptoms can also be harmless, but if they last longer, you should definitely have them medically clarified.
If you have a positive stool test, quickly go to the colonoscopy
Since April 1, 2017, the health insurance companies have paid patients aged 50 and over once a year a new immunological stool test for colorectal cancer screening, which replaces the conventional chemical test and once again significantly improves the screening program.
You can get this occult blood test from your family doctor, for example, then do it yourself at home and hand in the samples in the practice. A letter will then inform you of the result.
If the result is positive, the person concerned should speak to his doctor immediately, the spokeswoman for the established gastrointestinal doctors, Dagmar Mainz, said in the agency report.
Blood in the stool does not necessarily mean that the patient has cancer, but there are other possible causes. However, according to the experts, a colonoscopy is necessary if the findings are positive. Any existing cancer precursors can be removed.
You don't have to be afraid of this either: “As a rule, colonoscopy is performed with sedation. This means that the patient can “oversleep” the examination. He has no pain and there is no uncomfortable gas, ”the gastrointestinal doctors write on their website. (ad)