Saturday, June 15, 2024

G-BA’s Reports for Colorectal and Cervical Cancer Screening

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The Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) has published the first evaluation reports for the organized programs for the early detection of colorectal and cervical cancer. These reports cover data from 2021 and 2022 and mark a significant step in assessing the effectiveness of these screening programs. The evaluations, conducted by Gesundheitsforen Leipzig GmbH, offer an initial glimpse into the outcomes of these screening initiatives.

However, the current reports have limited informative value due to incomplete data, which is being retrospectively supplemented through data comparison with clinical cancer registries. This supplementary data collection aims to enhance the reliability and comprehensiveness of the evaluations. By aligning the screening data with clinical cancer registries, the G-BA expects to gain a more accurate picture of the screening programs’ impact. This effort underscores the importance of robust data collection and analysis in evaluating public health interventions.

Cervical Cancer

These evaluations are crucial for identifying areas of improvement and optimizing the screening processes. The G-BA’s commitment to refining these programs reflects an ongoing effort to improve early cancer detection and, consequently, patient outcomes. The continuous data comparison and evaluation process will help ensure that the screening programs are effective, efficient, and beneficial for the population.

Dr. Monika Lelgemann, chair of the Methods Assessment Subcommittee, highlighted the importance of these initial reports. “We are pleased that the evaluation reports are now available to the G-BA. They provide an initial snapshot after the start of the programs,” said Dr. Lelgemann. She acknowledged the challenges posed by decentralized data collection but noted that ongoing data comparisons with cancer registries will significantly enhance the reports’ informative value.

First Results of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Legally insured individuals aged 50 and over are eligible for colorectal cancer screening. They receive invitations from their health insurance providers at various age milestones, encouraging them to participate in screening tests. Eligible participants can opt for an annual stool test for hidden blood or, starting at age 55, biennial testing. Additionally, two early detection colonoscopies at ten-year intervals are available for men aged 50 and over and women aged 55 and over.

In 2021 and 2022, around 1.5 million insured individuals utilized stool tests for colorectal cancer detection each year. Approximately two-thirds of these participants were female, while one-third were male. Among those tested, 9.7% received positive results requiring further investigation. In terms of colonoscopies, nearly 434,000 insured individuals participated in 2021, with the number rising to around 487,000 in 2022. Of those screened via colonoscopy, 0.37% were diagnosed with carcinoma.

Due to the limited data currently available, valid statements regarding participation rates are not yet possible.

First Results of Cervical Cancer Screening

Women aged 20 and over with statutory health insurance are eligible for cervical cancer screening. Until age 65, they are invited every five years to participate in the early detection test. An annual Pap smear is offered until age 34, while women aged 35 and over can undergo co-testing (Pap smear and HPV test) every three years.

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In 2021 and 2022, nearly 3 million women aged 20 to 34 participated in cervical cancer screening. Results showed that 96.9% of the tests were unremarkable, with less than 0.08% detecting immediate precursors of cervical cancer. For women aged 35 and over, approximately 2.3 million utilized co-testing in 2021, with the number decreasing to around 1.3 million in 2022. Over 90% of the test results were unremarkable, with malignancies and immediate pre-stages of cervical cancer identified in less than 0.18% of cases.

The evaluation reports and accompanying documents are available on the G-BA website. These include detailed summaries and expert presentations that provide further context and insights into the evaluation results.

 

Resource: Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss, May 24, 2024

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