The Government and the Cancer Registry of Norway both wish to increase the participation in Cervical Screen Norway from below 70% to minimum 80%.
HPV self-sampling is now being implemented as most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer are women who have not participated in the screening program. These women are often diagnosed at a more severe stage, with worse prognosis and with more side effects from treatment than those who have participated in the screening program as recommended.
elf-sampling is a new tool for reaching those who for various reasons are not attending to the screening program. Self-sampling as an alternative will help bring us closer towards the goal of eliminating cervical cancer as a public health problem.
A study performed by the Cancer Registry in 2019 (EqualScreen) showed that attendance to the screening program increased significantly amongst women who had not participated in screening for the last 10 years. when self-sampling was offered as an alternative Among the women who participated in the study, 11,5% had high risk HPV infection. High risk HPV are the genotypes that can develop to cancer.
20,5 million NOK from the National Budget 2022 has been set aside for implementation of HPV self-sampling in the Cervical Screen Norway. In the National Budget for 2023 it is indicated that yet another eight million NOK will be given towards this project.
Status of the implementation
In August 2022 Cervical Screen Norway employed a Project leader and an Advisor specifically to work on the self-sampling project. The Project leader has the overall responsibility for logistics and external collaborations. The Advisor is responsible for communication and plays also essential roles in other parts of the project. In addition to new employees, others from Cervical Screen Norway and Cancer Registry of Norway will contribute at specific parts of the self-sampling project.
In September 2022, following a thorough evaluation process where several potential applicants were assessed, Akershus University Hospital was selected as the laboratory to perform all the HPV self-sample analysis in the project. In addition to collaborating with the laboratory, we are working on communication, IT development, external collaborations with additional partners and gaining international experiences regarding self-sampling. Our goal is to start sending self-sampling kits to prioritized groups in 2023/2024, to increase the participation in the Cervical Screen Norway.
Self-sampling kits are not yet available.
The project is described in more detail in a report sent to the Norwegian Directory of Health spring 2021.