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[The 1996 revision of the Dutch cervical cancer screening programme: increased coverage, fewer repeat smears and less opportunistic screening].

Berkers LM, et al. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2007.


OBJECTIVE: Comparison of the indicators of effectiveness and efficiency of the Dutch national cervical cancerscreening programme in 2003 and 1994, the last year before implementation of important changes in the medical and organisational guidelines.

DESIGN: Descriptive.

METHOD: Data on all Pap smears made in 1994 and 2003 were retrieved from the Pathologic Anatomical National Automated Archive (PALGA), together with the matching cytological and histological follow-up until April 2004. In order to calculate the 5-year coverage, the number of women that had had a smear taken was placed in the numerator and divided by the number of women that had been invited for the screening programme during those 5 years.

RESULTS: The 5-year coverage in the age range 30-64 years increased from 69 in 1994 to 77% in 2003. The percentage of smears resulting in a recommendation for a repeat smear decreased from 10 to 2. The percentage of timely compliance with recommendations for a repeat smear increased from 47 to 86, while that of smears with an immediate referral recommendation remained the same (about go). There was a sharp decrease in screening outside of the target-age range and screening with too short an interval. As a consequence, despite the higher coverage, the total number of smears decreased.

CONCLUSION: The changes in the Dutch cervical cancerscreening programme in 1996 with regard to participation, the number of and compliance with recommendations for repeat smears, and screening activity outside of the target group were accompanied by significant improvements in agreement with the goals of the revision. The potential consequences for the effectiveness of the screening programme (reduction of cervical cancer mortality) will become apparent in the years to come.


17624160 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Article in Dutch.

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