Interview With Dr. Christa Maar On Colon Cancer
A woman that moves a lot: In 2001, Dr. Christa Maar after a tragic stroke of fate, the “Felix Burda Foundation” in the life, which advocates for the colorectal cancer screening. Using elaborate advertising campaigns, the homepage darmkrebs.de and the media-effective Felix Burda Award, Maar explains about this treacherous disease, answers questions and thus saves lives. Since 2004, she has also been President of the “Network against Colorectal Cancer”. This involves networking of stakeholders in the field of prevention and the realization of scientific projects to improve colorectal cancer screening. In the interview Dr. Christa Maar “mylife” Questions about the topic of colon cancer and how it came to founding the “Felix Burda Foundation”.
Dr. Christa Maar in one of the walk-in intestinal models of the Felix Burda Foundation
Dr. Christa Maar, CEO of the Felix Burda Foundation, in one of the walk-in intestinal models of the Felix Burda Foundation.
WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY DO FOR COLON CANCER SCREENING?
Of course, I regularly go for colonoscopy. Apart from that, I eat well and exercise.
WHY ARE YOU COMMITTED TO THE TOPIC OF COLON CANCER?
My son Felix died at the age of 33 years of this cancer. He was married and father of two small children when he was having a stomachachewent to the doctor. The pain came from a colon carcinoma that had already spread to the liver. That is, the cancer had already grown for years and was discovered at a fairly advanced stage. Had one ever made a family history in our family, it would soon have become clear that Felix had a greatly increased familial risk for this cancer. He would have had to make his first Vorwargedarmspieglung at 25 years in this case. Presumably, cancer precursors would have been found and removed and it would not even have come to the emergence of a carcinoma that develops from such precursors over the years. He would still live today. It was Felix’s wish that a foundation in his name ensure that as many people as possible are spared his fate.
MANY PEOPLE ARE AFRAID OF A COLONOSCOPY. HOW CAN ONE CONVINCE THESE PEOPLE OF THIS CHECK-UP?
I know that you can not just talk away such fear . You should just listen to your friends and acquaintances and talk to people who have already done the exam. You will always find people in your environment who have already taken precautions. They usually report that everything was much more harmless than they thought, and that they overslept the investigation themselves. Because thanks to a light sleep injection you get from the actual investigation with nothing. And when you wake up and hear that everything is alright, then you are just glad that you have overcome and finally made the investigation.
WHAT ROLE DOES NUTRITION PLAY IN COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING?
There is a simple rule here: if you have a genetic risk, as was the case with Felix, then you can still feed so healthy, it will not prevent the cancer. But since colon cancer is a disease of the Western world, it is certainly related to our diet. In order to keep the own intestinal cancer risk by nutrition as low as possible, one should therefore, as many studies have shown, eat as little red meat as possible and a lot of fruits and vegetables. To be on the safe side, timely colorectal cancer screening always remains the first choice.
WITH THE FELIX BURDA FOUNDATION YOU HAVE DECLARED MARCH THE “COLORECTAL CANCER PREVENTION MONTH”. WHY THE MARCH? AND WHICH ACTIONS ARE PLANNED IN THE FUTURE?
The colorectal cancer month of March was originally initiated by Bill Clinton in the US and then adopted by us in 2002 for Germany. In the meantime he has become a real success model because special events are taking place throughout Germany for this event. For the future, we are very concerned about improving the situation of people at risk who should learn as early as possible that they are at high risk and what they can do about it. And, of course, we also deal with the topic of new developments and when, for example, there is finally a blood test in Germany, which finds almost as many carcinomas as the colonoscopy. We conduct scientific symposia on such and similar questions. And later this spring, it will be a relaunch of our websitewww.darmkrebs.de , which is visited very intensively by patients and their relatives and friends.
HOW DO YOU ALREADY SENSITIZE PEOPLE TO THE TOPIC OF COLON CANCER?
Basically, we try to deal with this topic humorously and loosely, to refute contact fears. After all, we are not talking about cancer, but about the possibility of preventing it! And we turn to healthy people. That’s the key. Every year we focus all our communicative activities – above all advertising and PR – on the month of the colon cancer in March in order to draw the population’s attention to the opportunities for provision throughout Germany. Currently our TV-Spot “The Children’s Choir” provides for different opinions, which is good, because it is perceived more intense. There are ads and radio spots to this year’s motto “Excuses can be deadly!”. Our intestinal model – by the way the largest in Europe – tours through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France and was even in Iceland and Israel. This model is a wonderful tool, for example also for company actions, to make the abstract theme come alive. You just walk through the gut and learn a lot about the organ and how to keep it healthy.
For those who want to know whether the topic is relevant to them at home or on the road in two minutes, we have developed an online test. On www.schnellcheck-darmkrebs.de one can query his personal risk very quickly and receives appropriate action recommendations.
Another very important part of our public relations work is the Felix Burda Award. When celebrities talk about their last colonoscopy in front of the cameras on the Red Carpet, one realizes that the taboo that surrounded the subject for so long has since really broken up.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHICH COUNTRY IS THE WORLD LEADER IN COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING? WOULD YOU DESCRIBE GERMANY AS PROGRESSIVE IN THIS CASE?
Germany is good at screening colonoscopy, which was introduced in 2002 and has already saved many people’s lives. Countries in which there are not so many gastrointestinal settlements as usDoctors who can carry out this study are far behind us on this topic, with the exception of the USA. For that we are behind with other things. For example, most countries have long since added the new high-sensitivity immunological stool test to their colorectal cancer screening program, while we still spend the low-sensitivity paper strip test introduced 40 years ago to detect stool in the stool that indicates bowel cancer could. After all: From 01.04.2017 this new test should finally be available as a legal service. In Europe currently leading by far our Dutch neighbors. The invite the citizens in writing for colorectal cancer screening with the immunological test and have thus achieved within a year, a participation rate of 70 percent. That’s sensational! And speaks for a well-thought-out and organized program.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR PLATFORM DARMKREBS.DE AND OTHER WEBSITES ABOUT COLON CANCER?
Darmkrebs.de was launched because, after Felix’s illness, I realized quickly how difficult it is to get serious and comprehensive information. Therefore, you can find on www.darmkrebs.de also from the provision to therapy and aftercare, and to nutrition and social all the answers to the questions that concern you as a person affected.
Much of the content was also prepared with expert advice from the Cancer Information Service of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. That’s another reason why around 90,000 users trust this information service every month