"Nowadays, a diagnosis of breast cancer is by no means a death sentence," said DGS vice president diethelm wallwiener. In the majority of cases the breast could be preserved. Also at the lymph nodes under the armpits could be operated more gently, the lesser long-term complaints.
Around 2500 physicians will deal with breast diseases at the congress until saturday. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, with more than 70,000 new cases every year. One in eight falls ill. With genetic predisposition, the risk is 80 percent – and 60 percent for ovarian cancer.
An alternative to the radical decision to remove the breast in the case of a high hereditary risk, as made by U.S. Actress angelina jolie, is close-meshed, comprehensive preventive examinations. Lifestyle also has a decisive influence, said co-congress president marion kiechle. The risk of recurrence and mortality in female patients is reduced by 50 percent if they exercise regularly.
A lot depends on early diagnosis. "The earlier you detect the cancer, the better it can be treated and the more women survive," emphasized sylvia heywang-kobrunner, head of the mammography reference center in munich. So far, there are no concrete findings from breast cancer racing in germany. "The results so far show that all parameters meet the eu guidelines, with one exception: the participation rate – because women do not take up the offer."
However, the figures in germany were not allowed to deviate significantly from other european countries. According to the latest data from 18 screening countries, mortality has been reduced by 43 percent in the quality-assured programs.
The scandal over inferior breast implants has not led to greater restraint among women. Neither in the aesthetic field nor in the reconstruction of the breast after cancer surgery were fewer implants used than before, said congress president axel-mario feller. Women, however, were more discriminating in their information than in the past. The majority of the inferior implants had been removed, but the women concerned had reacted very differently. Some had decided, after appropriate examinations, to wait and see, others had come "almost in a panic" and had wanted the implants removed immediately.