Cancer prevention: which check-ups are paid for by the health insurer?

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Cancer is one of the most frequent causes of death in Switzerland. However, the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the greater the chance it can be cured. Our AXA expert explains which check-ups make sense, and who will cover the costs.

According to the Federal Office of Public Health, around a third of all deaths among men and a fifth of all deaths among women in Switzerland are caused by cancer. Different types of cancer occur most frequently depending on gender. More than 50% of all cancer cases in men affect the prostate, lungs and colon, while for women, breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer are most common. The most dangerous types include cancers of the pancreas, lung and liver.

Successful treatment often depends on the disease being picked up early. If metastases have already formed, the treatment options and the chances of survival are reduced. It is therefore advisable to go for regular cancer prevention check-ups.

The most important cancer check-ups

As there are over 200 types of cancer, it is almost impossible to identify all cases early. The relevant preventive examinations can detect colon cancer, skin cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer at an early stage. Different check-ups are recommended depending on your age and gender.

Women should have the following examinations:

  • From age 18: gynecological check-up
  • From age 30: breast examination
  • From age 35: skin examination
  • From age 50: colonoscopy

The following check-ups are recommended for men:

  • From age 35 skin examination
  • From age 45: examination of reproductive organs
  • From age 50: colonoscopy

People with an increased risk, such as smokers, should have regular checks.

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Benefits covered by basic and supplementary insurance 

Basic insurance usually only covers the costs of medically necessary treatment, which does not apply to preventive examinations. However, there are some exceptions. The following check-ups are recognized by basic insurance:

  • Gynecological examination with Pap test every three years
  • Mammogram for women with an increased risk of breast cancer
  • Prevention of colon cancer: Test for traces of blood in the stool every two years and colonoscopy every ten years for people aged between 50 and 69

Supplementary insurance must be taken out to cover any further check-ups . It depends on the provider as to which preventive examinations are covered. AXA's supplementary health insurance “Health COMPLET” pays 100% of the costs of an annual gynecological examination. We also cover 75% of the costs of medical screening tests up to CHF 500 per year.

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