The annual report for 2012 from the Norwegian Cervical Cancer Screening Programme (NCCSP) is the third of its kind.
The organised screening programme in Norway was started with comprehensive registration of screening tests in 1991 with national roll-out completed in 1995 and gradual inclusion of also diagnostic verification data and HPV testing in later years. The annual report aims to describe the screening process using key performance indicators outlined in the European Guidelines for Quality Assurance and modified to the Norwegian setting.
The report aims to provide screening professionals with an overview of the function of the screening chain of which they are a part and allow early identification of barriers to effectiveness and quality issues that need rectification.
After the formulation of a national screening policy and start of monitoring, the total number of screening tests used in Norway has declined and the remainder is allocated more evenly in the target age-range with a three year screening interval.
Meanwhile Norway has experienced a decrease of 25% in cervical cancer incidence and 50% in cervical cancer mortality since the start of the organised programme. However, challenges remain, participation rates are slowly deteriorating especially in the younger age groups, while there are signs of a reversal of the trend towards lower incidence in these same ages. Also, follow-up compliance after a positive screening test is suboptimal.
In 2012, the screening programme sent a total of 424.000 reminder letters to women with overdue screening tests, or lacking recommended follow-up procedures. A total of 403.000 Pap tests and 11.000 HPV tests were registered with an annual target population of 478.000 women (one third of the whole population of women aged 25-69).
The report highlights the amount of work already invested in the organisation and execution of the cervical cancer screening programme, that these efforts have been effective, and (as always) that there is still room for improvement in some areas.
The Annual report from the Norwegian Cervical Cancer Screening Programme 2012 is only available in Norwegian.