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LEO Study

LEO is a German acronym and stands for "Leben ohne Darmkrebs" (Life Without Colon Cancer).

The LEO Study is a large-scale scientific study conducted by the Preventive Oncology Division at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg together with the Interdisciplinary Endoscopy Centre Heidelberg.
Since 2020 the LEO study team has been recruiting participants from the age group 30-49 based on the NCT "Proof of Concept Trial".

Medizinische Klinik Krehl Klinik
© DKFZ

The main objective of the study is to discover and evaluate new screening tests by means of which colon cancer and its pre-stages can be detected earlier.

The LEO study is part of the Prevention Outpatient Clinic that started its work on January 31, 2023. This clinic is the heart of the National Cancer Prevention Center (NCPC) which is currently being set up in Heidelberg by the DKFZ and the German Cancer Aid.

The Preventive Oncology Division also focusses on risk-adapted prevention (RAD). The RAD team led by Dr. Mahdi Fallah focusses on targeted prevention in the high-risk group of first-degree relatives of cancer patients.

The Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to discover and evaluate new screening tests by means of which colon cancer and its pre-stages can be detected earlier. The main focus is on young adults from the age group 30-49.
Further goals are to explore the prevalence of colon cancer and methods to identify high-risk groups with pre-stages of the disease. Based on our findings, we will derive recommendations for a personalized age for colon cancer screening.

Another focus of research is the question how well screening of the colon for polyps and other noticeable changes is accepted in the 30 to 49 age group and which results can be derived from this.

The participants of the LEO study do not undertake to undergo a medical examination. Their participation can be limited to part I of the study which consists of filling in our online questionnaires (questions about their diet and status of health). They can also provide bio samples that help us to develop simple early detection tests.

However, our offer to get a free of charge colonoscopy is attractive for this age group since the German healthcare system usually does not cover for this examination before age 50. Early detection of cancer significantly improves the chances of recovery. Colon cancer can even be avoided by preventive check-ups.

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