Today sees the kick-off of the national campaign: Let’s talk about cervical cancer – have you #done the smear test or self-test yet? This marks the first time that RIVM, Bevolkingsonderzoek Nederland and the KWF Dutch Cancer Society are launching a joint campaign to call attention to cervical cancer screening. More attention is needed because the number of participants has been declining in recent years.

Uptake is lowest among the group aged 30–34. This is a worrying development, given that 20.2% of women in this age group have HPV. Moreover, one in three women in this age group do not discuss the population screening because they are too embarrassed or know too little about the subject. These were the findings of a study commissioned by Bevolkingsonderzoek Nederland.

The right information, a good conversation

The primary causes of women’s doubts about taking part in the population screening are anxiety and fear, about both the smear test itself and the test result. The right information and a good conversation about experiences with the smear test and the self-test may give women a confidence boost and reduce their anxiety. That is why Bevolkingsonderzoek Nederland, RIVM and the KWF Dutch Cancer Society are calling on women to have these conversations. They are doing his together with women who will share their experiences on social media, in podcasts, on the platform (in Dutch) and through a social media campaign.