HanseMerkur provides customers access to advanced cancer screening

The earlier the better

Hamburg, September 1, 2022. HanseMerkur is now offering its customers the new supplementary cancer screening insurance. The two-stage program for early cancer detection uses an innovative blood test from Zyagnum AG in Darmstadt to detect special enzymes in the blood, which in many tumors are already produced in large amounts in the early, symptom-free phases. If there is an initial suspicion of cancer or a preliminary stage of cancer, this is clarified in a second step using the latest imaging methods. As a result, a large number of new cancer cases can be detected particularly early – even those for which there was previously no regular early detection. Appropriate therapies can be initiated very early, which usually significantly increases the chances of recovery.

“Promoting innovative approaches and developing products that improve the lives of our customers is an essential part of our corporate philosophy,” says Eberhard Sautter, CEO of HanseMerkur. “We are therefore pleased about the cooperation with Zyagnum AG, whose technology we supported at a very early stage. This was followed by further development into a comprehensive new possibility of early detection. A key driving force for us was the fact that there is currently no early detection for more than half of the annual new cancer cases. We therefore want to make a decisive contribution to the early detection of cancer with this unique insurance program consisting of blood tests, the latest imaging methods and valuable additional services,” Eberhard Sautter continues.

In Germany alone, around half a million people are diagnosed with cancer every year* and the number will continue to increase. In most cases, the chances of a cure are better the earlier the cancer is detected and can be treated accordingly. Although there are screening tests for some types of cancer that should be carried out at regular intervals from a certain age and depending on gender, no regular screening tests are available for a total of around 55 percent of the annual cancer cases.**

New insurance product supplements existing cancer screening

With Krebs-Scan (in English Cancer-Scan) HanseMerkur wants to help close this gap in early cancer detection. However, this is expressly not intended to replace existing early detection measures, but rather to supplement them as best as possible. The insurance product includes an annual blood test procedure called PanTum Detect®, which, with just one blood sample, can detect enzymes that are increasingly produced during the growth of many types of tumors – even in phases in which other symptoms often do not appear. If the test delivers an abnormal result, it is immediately clarified whether the suspicion of a dangerous tumor is confirmed and where it is located. Modern imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a combination of positron emission tomography and computer tomography (PET/CT) are used for this purpose. “In most cases, the cancer scan only requires taking a blood sample – a test that is familiar and uncomplicated for the customer. At best, this will also reach those who have so far failed to take advantage of the regular early detection measures. If, among other things, the cancer scan were able to make this group more aware of the relevance of early cancer detection, that would be a big step. It is therefore particularly important for us to make cancer scan customers very clearly aware that the existing options for regular early detection should definitely be used,” emphasizes Eberhard Sautter. (in English Cancer-Scan) initially starts with 30 blood collection points throughout Germany and is gradually being expanded.

Early detection and all-round care in one

In addition to the costs for the blood test, the supplementary insurance also covers the currently best and most expensive follow-up examinations such as PET/CT and MRT as well as the costs for optional services in the hospital (e.g. treatment by the chief physician) in the event of illness. The offer is rounded off by competent telemedical support, which accompanies the customer during the period of further clarification using imaging procedures and, in the event of a concrete suspicion, discusses and initiates the next steps together with the customer.

Scientifically backed

A large-scale study by the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) recently demonstrated that the combination of the PanTum Detect® blood test and imaging methods is suitable for detecting potentially dangerous tumors at an early stage without any symptoms.

Further information on the UKE study can be found here

A printable icon of the cancer scan can be downloaded here free of charge for press purposes (Source: Getty Images).
Suggested caption:
Detecting cancer early: After the initial suspicion of the PanTum Detect® blood test, a doctor examines scans of imaging methods (symbol image, Getty Images)

* Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Center for Cancer Registry Data. cancer total.
Available online at https://bit.ly/RKI_Krebs. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
** Calculated based on the Center for Cancer Registry Data (ZfKD) database. Available online at https://bit.ly/ZfKD_. Retrieved September 1, 2022.

About HanseMerkur

With an annual turnover of 3.3 billion euros (2021), HanseMerkur is the only independent insurance group in the financial center of Hamburg. The roots of the 147-year-old personal insurer lie in health insurance, which is still the main division of the company today. HanseMerkur is also a specialist for private supplementary protection for those with statutory health insurance and, with around 1.26 million people with supplementary insurance (2021), one of the largest German providers in this segment. In addition, with premium income of EUR 183 million (2021) in the travel and leisure segment, it is one of the market leaders in tourism insurance. Further information at www.hansemerkur.de

About Zyagnum

The Darmstadt-based biotechnology company Zyagnum AG develops diagnostic solutions for human medicine. Zyagnum has a deep understanding of immunological processes and how they relate to disease. With the EDIM® technology developed by Zyagnum, blood tests can be used to detect specific antigens in immune cells that can play a role in tumor development. The company now employs 33 people and was founded by Zyagnum CEO Ralf Schierl together with Johannes Coy in 2007.