Dutch Health Council: Give women a free cervical cancer testing kit
The Health Council of the Netherlands has advised that all women over the age of 30 receive an at-home self-testing kit alongside their invite to be screened for cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer and HPV screening in the Netherlands
According to the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), over 200 women die from cervical cancer in the Netherlands every year. The Health Council has issued new advice in order to improve the national cervical cancer screening system and ensure more women are tested and can be diagnosed as soon as possible.
For example, the Council recommends looking into faster, less labour intensive ways in which to process testing samples, and minimising the number of unnecessary referrals by distinguishing between different types of HPV to ensure women are not “burdened with unnecessary anxiety.”
Dutch Health Council believes women should receive a testing kit
Since 2017, women have been given a choice when they receive their letter inviting them for their cervical cancer screening: they can book an appointment with their GP, or they can apply to receive an at-home testing kit that can be used to detect an HPV infection.
The key aspect of the Council’s advice states that, while the current system does give women a choice, it would be better if all women automatically receive a testing kit when they receive their screening invite.
“The choice between two equivalent options and the convenience of not having to apply for the self-sampling kit separately is expected to significantly lower the barrier to participate in the population screening," the Council writes.