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New skin cancer screening programme in Germany

From 1 July 2008 a new cancer screening programme will be available to patients in Germany.

Beginning from age 35, everyone with compulsory health insurance will be entitled to receive an examination for skin cancer, every two years.

This will represent an estimated 45 million insured people, 24 million women and 21 million men.

The screening will take the form of a visual examination of the whole of the body by a doctor.

The move was welcomed by Deutsche Krebshilfe, a German cancer charity.

Germany has over 870,000 patients with skin cancer undergoing treatment, and has sustained a considerable increase in the incidence of the condition since 1980, attributed to lifestyle changes such as sunbathing and the use of sunbeds.

Each year, 140,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in Germany, with 3,000 dying from the disease annually.

Deutsche Krebshilfe