Only 60% of women are taking part in cervical cancer tests

Cancer cells. Photo:

Around 100 women in the Netherlands die every year because they did not undergo the five-yearly test for cervical cancer, the public health institute RIVM has told the AD.

Women in the Netherlands between the ages of 30 and 60 are called up for a test every five years but only 60% of those invited for the screening in the past two years actually turned up.

According to the RIVM, between 120 and 150 women who do not have a cervical smear test will die of cervical cancer every year. Of them about 70% die because they did not have a test, or had one too late.

Cancer expert Nienke van Trommel told the AD: ‘There is a very good chance of beating cervical cancer with this test. So many women are dying unnecessarily.’

In June, the RIVM said the sharp drop in the number of teenage girls having vaccinations against cervical cancer could lead to up 80 extra deaths a year.

More than half the girls called up last year failed to turn up, and just 45.5% were given the vaccination against the HPV virus, which can cause cervical cancer and is spread by sexual contact, the RIVM said.

The number of girls being vaccinated has now gone down 15% over two years. The RIVM said this is ‘extremely worrying’ and a further drop is likely this year. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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