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Mortality Reduction in German Cancer Centers

Marina Virko
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The correct doctor and clinic selection can increase the life expectancy of a cancer patient by 11-26%. Certified medical centers are much more efficient than conventional hospitals. This has been confirmed by nationwide research results published in April 2022. It had evaluated the data of 1,000,000 patients with 8 different cancer types, which had been treated in four regional cancer centers certified by the German Cancer Society. The proven benefit of the program: certified center patients live much longer.

Certified centers are required to annually confirm the availability of technologies, equipment and appropriately qualified specialists that can ensure national standards of treatment quality. They are a network of inpatient and outpatient medical facilities, including psycho-oncology and rehabilitation centers. The leading role is given to advanced interdisciplinary centers developing new therapy strategies

According to the study results, particular benefits were noted for patients with cervical cancer (mortality decrease by 25.9%), neurooncological malignancies (mortality decrease by 15.8%), lung cancer (mortality decrease by 15.0%) and breast tumors (mortality decrease by 11.7%). A positive trend in reducing mortality has also been statistically proven in the treatment of colorectal carcinomas, head and neck masses, prostate, and gynecological cancers.

 Malignant diseases of the female reproductive system and mamma, prostate, lungs, intestines, brain and nervous system, as well as the face and neck area, are best of all handled at German disease-specific certified centers.

 Prof. Dr. med. Jochen Schmitt, Director of the Center for Healthcare Statistics at the Gustav Carus University Hospital in Dresden and the Dresden University medical faculty, has publicly acknowledged the evidence of significantly better treatment results at certified cancer centers.

As a rule, only large university and interregional healthcare facilities equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostics and therapy technologies can receive the German Cancer Society certificate.

Treatment at certified cancer centers is evidently most beneficial for patients at earlier (I-III) cancer stages as compared to more advanced cases. Among other reasons, such results can be attributed to the fact that therapy plans are worked out by multidisciplinary expert groups. According to Prof. Monika Klinkhammer, Chairman of the Board of the Working Group of German Cancer Centers, they are more likely to prescribe treatment in accordance with current national and international guidelines, and are able to ensure a higher quality of procedure. "A great contribution to the cancer centers success is made by tumor boards which facilitate the discussion of diagnostics and treatment tactics and strategies by doctors representing different specialties."

Interdisciplinary tumor board decision-making at certified cancer centers ensures compliance with current national and international cancer treatment guidelines.

The research analyzed 1,000,000 cases of tumor patients treated in four German regional centers: Regensburg, Dresden, Erfurt and Berlin-Brandenburg. The project involved the Medical Faculty Center for Statistics at the Dresden Technical University, the Working Society of German Cancer Centers, the Scientific Institute of the major medical insurance company AOK, the Institute for Healthcare Quality and Research at the University of Regensburg, and the National Cancer Center in Dresden. The three-year study cost 1.6 million euros. Its approval was supported by representatives of the national hospital community, the Bundestag supervising committee, the national association of cancer self-help organizations and the healthcare law department of the Federal Ministry of Health.

The benefits of treatment in specialized oncology centers has been confirmed in Germany at all levels: by the professional and scientific medical community, as well as representatives of the legislature and public institutions.


  1. Wirksamkeit der Versorgung in onkologischen Zentren (WiZen) - Erkenntnisse zur Ergebnisqualität und Erfolg des Datenlinkage: Prof. Dr. J. Schmitt et al., 2022
  2. Geringere Sterblichkeit bei Therapie in zertifizierten Krebszentren: Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 2022

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