Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 11072212
Eur. J. Cancer 2000 Nov;36(17):2240-3
In 1962, a programme for early detection of cervical cancer was established at the national level. The programme is based on the collaboration of different groups of doctors and not on a system of sending out invitations to every woman. This programme was re-adapted twice according to the needs for assuring quality in a system of mainly liberal medicine. At present the programme is ‘institutionalised’ and is carried out according to the criteria defined in 1990. This includes a centralisation of the smear readings and handing out the material needed to take the smears. The contribution of the doctors is regulated by a system of bonuses given by the government and a reimbursement by the Health Fund. The annual cervical smear is free of charge for every woman. The participation of the women targeted by the programme (>15 years old) has increased by approximately 50% every decade from the early 1970s increasing from 10950 in 1972 to 70441 in 1999. Between 1980 and 1999, the number of women at risk taking part in the programme increased from 10.80 to 38.92%. The number of all the doctors taking smear samples increased from 68 to 105 and the number of gynaecologists increased from 19 (ratio Gyn/GP (gynaecologists/General Practitioners) of 28%) to 52 (ratio Gyn/GP of 50%). The mortality rate has decreased continuously from 6. 1/100000 in 1990 to 0.9/100000 in 1997. In conclusion, to be successful, a cervical cancer screening programme should be flexible enough to allow short-term adaptations to unexpected local situations and needs a highly motivated team of the different participants involved in the regional and national health policy.