Early detection of diseases: many illegal offers

early detection of diseases: many illegal offers

Some medical examinations for the early detection of serious illnesses using computer tomography (CT) are legally inadmissible, according to experts, and may no longer be offered.

"If a cancellation of such offers does not take place, the supervisory authorities of the lander can take appropriate measures," a spokeswoman for the federal environment ministry said in response to a question from the german press agency dpa. The federal office for radiation protection (bfs) in salzgitter had previously criticized the offers of practices and clinics.

"The current offers on the internet are not only illegal, but also misleading," said bfs president inge paulini. In the opinion of the radiation protection authority, the information provided by some providers suggests a lack of quality. This is the result of an evaluation of 150 websites of radiological practices and clinics that offer CT screening examinations.

The german radiation society (DRG) does not contradict the bfs report. Offers outside the legal requirements are "indeed unlawful," according to a statement obtained by dpa and initially reported by the "arzte zeitung" newspaper.

"Radiological procedures can play an important role in the early detection of cancer or heart disease," said bfs president paulini. However, it must be carefully assessed whether the benefits of such an investigation justify the risks involved and whether the required quality standards have been met. Computed tomography uses rontgen rays.

According to the bfs, mammography screening for breast cancer is the only approved procedure that uses radiation for early detection. "This is aimed at healthy women between the ages of 50 and 69," a spokesman for the lower saxony ministry of the environment explained. The goal is to use mammography to detect breast cancer as early as possible so that it can be treated better and more gently. However, so-called "gray screenings" or "manager checks" are problematic, in which examinations are carried out without suspicion of any illness within standardized, quality-assured programs.

The ministry of the environment in berlin also emphasizes that early detection examinations by means of CT are currently not permitted outside of mammography screening. The bfs report shows that such examinations are, however, offered on the internet. At least the information had now reached a wide range of physicians via articles in the "arzte zeitung" or the "deutsche arzteblatt.

The reason why the illegal offers are circulating on the net at all is relatively simple for the ministry spokeswoman: "it can be assumed that part of the medical profession is not aware of the legal situation."In addition to the request for deletion, the topic will be discussed with the relevant state authorities. According to the bfs, the evaluation of low-dose CT for the early detection of lung cancer in smokers is currently underway. CT examinations for other diseases could also be tested and then possibly approved.