less than 50% of women have a Pap smear made after a call

In the Netherlands, about 800 people get cervical cancer every year. Cervical cancer mainly occurs in women between the ages of 30 and 60. From the age of thirty you will receive an invitation to have a smear done for the population screening. Unfortunately, less than 50% of women take advantage of this call, which can have major consequences.

cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is fairly treatable, provided it is detected in time. That is why women in the Netherlands receive an invitation every five years from their thirties to participate in the population screening for cervical cancer. A smear test can then be made at the doctor’s office. In the lab it is then checked whether any troubled cells are found and whether you have the HPV virus.

Participation in the population screening is voluntary and free of charge. But despite it being free, few women participate in the study. Less than 5 in 10 women between the ages of 30 and 60 actually have a Pap smear if they are invited. In 2020, the number of participating women between the ages of 30 and 35 was even less than 40 percent. A shockingly low turnout.

Have a smear done

Having a Pap smear is essential to detect cervical cancer or a preliminary stage thereof. Cervical cancer is almost always caused by an infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). 80 percent of the population becomes infected with this virus that you can contract through sexual contact. In many cases, your body can clear this virus on its own, but if you have a long-term infection, cervical cancer can develop.

Having a smear done at the doctor is not very pleasant, but in the end it is not that bad. The treatment often only takes 10 minutes. The GP or doctor’s assistant places a duckbill in the vagina and some cells are collected with a brush, which are then examined in a laboratory.

Read also
Linda (31) got cervical cancer: ‘I would have loved to have given Fien a sister or brother’

Self-sampling test

Do you find it exciting to have a Pap smear done at the GP? To lower the threshold for women to participate in the population screening, it is possible to request a self-sampling kit. You can then do a smear test at home. However, the self-test is less extensive than the smear at the GP. The self-test only examines whether the HPV virus is present. No abnormal cells are considered.

If you carry the HPV virus, you will still be asked to have a Pap smear made by the doctor.

Want to stay informed about our best articles and giveaways? Then sign up for free for our newsletter.

Source: Population survey in the Netherlands, Margaret | Image: GettyImages

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.