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Int J Cancer. 2014 Jul 1;135(1):204-13. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28646. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Divergent coverage, frequency and costs of organised and opportunistic Pap testing in Finland.

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Department of Vaccination and Immune Protection, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland.


We evaluated the overall coverage, frequency and costs of Pap testing by screening modality and health care provider in Finland. Information about Pap testing in the Finnish female population of 2.7 million was obtained from nationwide population-based registry data. Among women aged 25-69 years, 87% had had a Pap test taken within or outside the organised programme at least once during the last 5 years and half of those screened in the organised programme had also had at least one Pap test taken outside the programme. Of the annual average of 530,000 Pap tests taken, 84% were taken for screening purposes and 16% as follow-up. Forty percent of the 446,000 annual screening tests were taken in the organised programme, 55% as opportunistic tests in public primary or student health care or by private providers and 5% in public secondary health care. One-fifth of all opportunistic screening Pap tests were taken from women aged <25. The voluminous opportunistic Pap testing in public primary health care was concentrated in young women aged 25-29 whereas the bulk of opportunistic testing in private health occurred in age groups eligible for organised screening. The total cost of all screening Pap tests was €22.4 million, of which 71% incurred in opportunistic screening. Of the 84,000 annual follow-up Pap tests and their €8.3 million total costs, ∼60% incurred in organised screening or in secondary health care.


Pap test; cervical cancer screening; costs; opportunistic screening; organised programme; screening coverage

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