Breast and ovarian cancer – health insurance companies now cover preventive cancer operations – News


Contents

Genetic defects can greatly increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The health insurance companies will now pay in all relevant cases.

Not all women have the same risk of one day developing breast cancer. Since the beginning of the year, health insurance companies have been covering the preventive removal of breast tissue or ovaries in the event of genetic defects in order to prevent possible cancer.

Anyone who has inherited a genetic defect has an increased risk of 60, sometimes even 80 percent, of developing breast cancer one day.

Cornelia Leo, chief physician at the Breast Center at the Baden Cantonal Hospital and President of the Swiss Society for Senology, explains the different risks for women: “Regardless of a genetic defect, every woman has a risk of around twelve percent of developing breast cancer over the course of her life. Anyone who has inherited a genetic defect has an increased risk of 60, sometimes even 80 percent, of getting breast cancer one day.

Important: family history

Women with an increased genetic risk usually have several family members who have had breast cancer themselves. If a diagnosis confirms such a genetic defect, the woman has two options. Either intensive early detection with mammography and MRI is necessary, because breast cancer is easily curable at an early stage, or the breast tissue is removed.

Cornelia Leo explains the surgical procedure: “The breast tissue is removed on both sides. This is usually combined with breast reconstruction. This prevents the occurrence of breast cancer.” After careful advice, each woman should decide for herself which path is right for her.

Precautionary removal of ovaries recommended

In the case of rare ovarian cancer, however, medical experts are more pressing for preventive surgical removal if there is an increased genetic risk, because cure and early detection is much more difficult for ovarian cancer.

A genetic defect hangs over the woman like the sword of Damocles.

Until now, health insurance companies have only financed preventive removal for individual genetic defects. That has now changed. For all significant genetic defects in this area, a preventive operation is now carried out.

This is very important for the women affected, emphasizes chief physician Cornelia Leo: “A genetic defect hovers over the woman like the sword of Damocles. Now she has the opportunity to decide and the cost coverage has been clarified.” In total, tens of thousands of women across Switzerland are likely to carry such genetic defects.

Estimated 70,000 women in Switzerland have a hereditary genetic defect that greatly increases the risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer over the course of their lives. As chief physician Cornelia Leo explains, around five to ten percent of all breast cancers and around 20 percent of all ovarian cancers have a hereditary cause.

The genetic defect is passed on in the family from generation to generation. The most common genes in this context are BRCA1 and BRCA2. However, there are other high-risk genes that can increase the risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer due to mutations.

On the subject of “increased risk,” the President of the Swiss Society for Senology says: Every woman has one, regardless of a hereditary genetic defect There is a risk of around twelve percent that she will develop breast cancer by the age of 80 to 85. If someone has such a genetic defect, the risk increases to 60 and sometimes even 80 percent. For rare ovarian cancer, the basic lifetime risk is around one percent. With a genetic defect, the risk of the disease can increase to 20 to 40 percent.

It is therefore important to ask about family history during the preventive examination in order to use a genetic test to clarify any weak points in good time and, if necessary, to take action. A possible preventive removal of breast tissue and ovaries is new “in all relevant cases” covered by basic insurance. Until now, this was only the case in individual cases or depended on the goodwill of the health insurance companies.

source site-72