Reducing the risk of disease thanks to regular check-ups
Medical preventative exams help reduce our risk for developing diseases or help recognise diseases in an early stage, thereby increasing the likelihood of curing them. The statutory health insurance pays for many, but not for all, check-ups. The following overview is not intended to be a complete list, but intended to point out important preventative test options.
Check-ups: the most important preventative examinations at a glance
Preventative examinations for children
The Federal Committee of Physicians and Health Insurances set guidelines for early detection and specific examination steps that are performed from the first minutes after you are born to when you become an adult. U1 to U9 follow the child up to one year before enrolling in school. A last examination in adolescence can be performed between 17-18 years of age. The focal points of this series are not only the recognition of developmental disorders but increasingly also a consultation about healthy behaviour.
Preventative examination starting at age 20 and 35
At age 20
Starting at age 20, skin cancer preventative exams can be undertaken every 1-2 years and can detect the development of malignant skin tumours. The statutory preventative examination is, however, provided only starting at age 35.
For women starting at age 20
The gynaecologist performs a gynaecological examination once a year in women starting at age 20 to minimise the risk of cervical cancer.
Starting at age 30 the breast and lymph nodes are checked for breast cancer prevention. This can also be done on your own with a monthly self-check exam.
At age 35
A thorough check-up every two years starting at age 35 helps detect any diseases in the earliest possible stage, for example cardiovascular diseases or diabetes. A full physical exam and laboratory tests are given. The latter help detect normal and abnormal organ function. Ultrasound tests can be performed in addition, for example on the abdomen (lower body), thyroid and lymph nodes in the neck. These ultrasound imaging tests show the shape of organs that deviate from a healthy shape. Ask in advance which preventative examinations your health insurance covers.
Preventative examination starting at age 50 and 55
At age 50
Starting at age 50 the general physician can perform examinations for colon cancer in women and men. In women, mammograms can be performed in specialised clinics for breast cancer prevention.
At age 55
A colonoscopy (colon examination) is recommended starting at age 55. This is performed in gastroenterology practices.