Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the health care capacity in the Netherlands is expected to come under severe pressure in the coming period. That is why RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment , by order of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, is temporarily discontinuing population screening for cervical, breast and colon cancer.

Health care capacity

A temporary stop will cause the number of referrals from the population screening to decrease sharply, freeing up capacity at the hospitals for coronavirus care. 

With immediate effect, no new invitations will be sent. People who have already received an invitation for the population screening for cervical or colon cancer can still participate. Women who have been invited for the population screening for breast cancer are now not allowed to have their breast photographed. The screening organisation makes every effort to inform these women by telephone.   

This measure will in any case last until 6 April. Based on the coronavirus developments and in consultation with the parties involved, such as general practitioners, laboratories and hospitals, it will be assessed when the population screenings can start again.