We want to work with the Alliance Against Bowel Cancer to support the efforts of doctors in recognising the disease early.
The option of a preventative colonoscopy is taken up by just 3% of those entitled to it, and this figure is falling. Based on the model of breast cancer screening, anyone covered by a participating company health insurance fund is contacted when they reach the age of 55 and personally invited to undergo a colonoscopy. We expect to see the number of participants double as a result of this measure.
However, we also want to provide for those people who are not able to undergo a preventative colonoscopy by offering them the alternative of a stool test. So the age group 50-54 will likewise be invited to undergo screening, but this will take the form of a stool test as these people are not yet entitled to the colonoscopy.
In both cases, the insured persons will be offered an immunological stool test. These procedures are now included in the European prevention guidelines* and German studies have shown that they are twice as sensitive as the guaiac test and boast a high level of specificity.
The health insurance funds have been instructed by us on this matter. The “Ärztezeitung” medical journal will be our media partner here and can inform you of the current state of affairs at any time. We also have the support of the Association of German Gastroenterologists in Private Practice, as well as the Felix Burda Foundation.
Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr also emphasised his support in a welcome address.
Together with the Alliance Against Bowel Cancer, we aim to meet our statutory obligation of prevention and thus to contribute to reducing rates of bowel carcinomas and preventing new cases arising.
We are also asking for your support with regard to the scientific evaluation. Participants whose tests have come back positive will undoubtedly be sent for a colonoscopy by their doctor. Please fax the anonymised colonoscopy form to the IMIBE Institute. This will help with the development of a solid scientific evaluation.
We are sure that the screening invitation procedure in combination with a better test could soon halve the rate of bowel carcinomas.
Of course we are happy to receive questions, ideas and comments coming from your expert perspective at any time.
*European Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Colorectal Cancer Screening and Diagnosis