District - In the pandemic year 2020 there were in some cases severe drops in cancer early detection examinations. For its policyholders, the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen reports the greatest declines in mammography screening (minus 28 percent), prostate cancer early detection (minus 10 percent) and early detection of skin cancer (minus 24 percent) . Fortunately, there was no decline in early detection of cervical cancer or in early detection colonoscopy.
"The group of those entitled to do this was expanded before the pandemic and reduced to the age of 50," explains Robert Allmann, AOK Head of Prevention.
Nevertheless, from his point of view, the figures as a whole show how important it is to move cancer prevention more into the focus of the public and to motivate people to take advantage of the early detection examinations.
Higher participation numbers are desirable
A long-term evaluation based on the accounting data of the AOK Bavaria for the years 2009 to 2020 also makes it clear that the participation rates for all examinations for early cancer detection could be significantly higher. Overall, only about half of the Bavarian insured persons who were 65 years old in the past year used the examination for colorectal cancer early detection. "There is still a lot of room for improvement in prostate cancer early detection," says Allmann. In the age group between 54 and 70, far more than two thirds of men go too seldom or too late for early diagnosis. It looks better with the early detection of cervical cancer: Over 80 percent of women between 29 and 40 have taken part in the screening according to the recommendations.“This study impressively proves the effectiveness of early detection measures: Before it was introduced in 1971, cervical cancer was the most common malignant tumor in young women; in the meantime, the number of new cases has been reduced to around a quarter of the cases, ”said Allmann.
AOK campaign for early detection
A current Forsa survey on behalf of the AOK confirms that there is a need for action.
As part of an online study from September 21 to 29, 2021, a total of 3,225 men and women over the age of 18 were surveyed nationwide.
Around a fifth of those surveyed stated that they were uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk to friends, colleagues or colleagues about early detection.
More than a third of the respondents even stated that they believe that preoccupation with early detection and prevention is impaired by taboos.
“With the nationwide campaign 'Germany, we have to talk about health', the AOK wants to take countermeasures and increase awareness of the topic of early cancer detection,” explains Allmann.