Colonoscopies to check for bowel cancer under used in Germany
5 July 2008
Under 2% of persons aged over 55 in Germany use colonoscopies for early detection of cancer, even though the statutory health insurance funds have covered the costs since 2002. Statutory health insurance allows two screening colonoscopies in 10 years
This was shown by an analysis
of the Bavarian Colonoscopy Database published in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt
The procedure detects an intestinal lesion in a quarter of patients
many as 1% of these lesions are due to a carcinoma. Advanced adenomas
are often precursors of carcinoma and were found in one of twelve
Colonoscopies for the early detection of cancer are only performed annually on 2% of persons aged over 55. To this must be added 4% who have a colonoscopy performed as part of a follow-up or for the diagnosis of symptoms.
If this is extrapolated to a period of 10 years — the intended interval between two check-ups — it leaves 40% of people aged over 55 who do not have a check-up.
1. Epidemiology and Quality Control of 245 000 Outpatient Colonoscopies. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 2008; 105(24): 434-40. www.aerzteblatt.de/v4/archiv/pdf.asp?id=60551