Germany has been offering a statutory program for many years, which, among other things, initiates preventive measures and allows cancer to be detected at an early stage. This is done with selected examinations that are paid for by health insurance companies.
Participation in certain studies is entirely voluntary. The examination procedures are basically aimed at healthy patients who are symptom-free. The aim is to discover a disease or its precursors before complaints or symptoms can be triggered. Timely intervention is in the foreground for better therapeutic results.
There is basically no certainty that these methods are accurate. It is not clear whether every disease and every stage can be detected. There is no such thing as 100% certainty. In addition, it is not possible to influence how precisely each individual follows and perceives their early detection examinations. Unfortunately, if you don’t do much with it, you can’t expect to always be up to date with your physical health.
What is the difference between early detection and prevention?
Prevention describes the measures that are taken to prevent diseases. It is possible to prevent the development of cancer through tests if precancerous lesions are detected.
There are currently tests for cervical cancer and colon cancer.
However, it is not enough just to go to the doctor for preventive care. It is important to take care of your own health.
A healthy lifestyle and avoiding cancer-promoting substances such as cigarettes and alcohol can play a role.
Early detection is about finding cancer that is already present at an early stage.
Those affected usually have no symptoms and at such an early stage there are often good chances of recovery. In some cases, the danger of cancer can still be averted by targeted therapeutic measures.
The check up 35
Every person who is legally insured has the right to a general health check from the age of 35. From this point in time he can repeat this check every three years.
All people between the ages of 18 and 35 may only use this service once.
This examination method is aimed specifically at the early detection of cancer.
What is done during this check?
The entire medical history is requested. The person concerned should also state what their habits are like and under what circumstances they live.
But also how the person eats, whether he does sport and whether there are hereditary risk factors. This survey is very detailed.
full body exam
All organs and external characteristics are examined by looking, palpating and listening. Also includes:
- The heart: Blood pressure is measured to rule out an increase, which can put you at risk for a stroke, heart attack or kidney problems.
In addition, attention is paid to the heart rhythm, whether arrhythmias are audible and the doctor can also write an ECG (electrocardiogram) if necessary, which could show him more precise results if there are any abnormalities
- The lung: Shortness of breath, stamina, abnormal sounds when listening
- The head: Imbalance, dizziness, vision, pupil reaction
- The belly: Pressure pain, bloated stomach, full stomach, bowel noises
- The neck: Swollen lymph nodes, visibility of the thyroid
- The spine: Pain in the vertebral bodies, abnormal deformation of the spine
- The musculoskeletal system: (overall assessment)
- The nervous system
- All sense organs
- The skin: Conspicuous birthmarks, pigment disorders, eczema or ulcers are examined more closely. If necessary, you will be referred to a specialist in skin diseases.
- Blood values: A blood sample is required for this. It is best if the patient comes to the practice on an empty stomach. Certain values are determined in the blood count, such as the blood sugar level (risk of diabetes), the total cholesterol level (elevated blood lipids?), electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, etc…), inflammation parameters (CRP). Usually, a urine sample is taken at the same time as the blood sent away with.
This sample can indicate certain kidney diseases, bacterial infections, kidney stones, malnutrition, diabetes, etc.
Is the potential of preventive measures underestimated?
The most important fact is that everyone needs to take sufficient care of themselves in order to have good preventative care. A healthy awareness of staying healthy is just as important as the examinations by the doctor. A combination of both should be the key to adequate disease prevention and avoidance.
Educating yourself about the examinations is just as important as taking responsibility for your own body.
Many people do not even know that they have so many claims to examinations that are covered by health insurance companies. Sometimes such a topic is completely lost in everyday stress, even though it is so important. As a result, the measures are often underestimated, since many are not clear about their entitlement to certain services.
So it’s all the better to remind your family and friends from time to time so that everyone can contribute to keeping themselves and others healthy.
It is always possible to get information about possible examinations from your family doctor or the Federal Ministry of Health. Better to go to the doctor one more time than to regret not having paid enough attention to your physical health afterwards.