FAQ

We wanted to make a simple and understandable partition in three groups over 2022, 2023 and 2024. This is the duration of the pilots on Saba and Statia.

  • The screening program starts in 2022 with invitations for women aged 50-60 years, because we wanted to give the women now aged 59 or 60 years the opportunity to participate. 
  • Inviting women aged 50-60 in 2024 would exclude them from the pilot, missing the final opportunity to have a screening within the program.
  • Women aged 40-50 will be invited in 2023, and women aged 30-40 in 2024. 

And we want to emphasize: If – in the meantime – women experience complaints, they should contact the island physician

On Saba:

Saba Cares will invite you by means of a telephone call, according to a schedule based on age.

  • 2022: 50-60 years
  • 2023: 40-50 years
  • 2024: 30-40 years

Despite this practical choice, at any ‘screening week’ all other women 30-60 years who are interested to take part are welcomed. If they contact Saba Cares an appointment can be made. And we want to emphasize: If– in the meantime – you experience complaints, please contact the island physician. 

On Statia: the answer to this question will soon be published.

All women between 30 and 60 years, will be invited to participate in the coming three years. This year women aged 50-60 will be the first age group to be invited. 

Women aged 40-50 will be invited in 2023, and women aged 30-40 in 2024. 

If you have never had sexual contact, there is little chance of HPV infection. The risk of a precancerous stage or cervical cancer is then very low. If you still want to have a swab test, tell the doctor or nurse that you are a virgin. The doctor or nurse can take this into account at the screening test by using a smaller speculum.

No the uterus cannot be damaged. The doctor or nurse uses a speculum, which does not extend beyond the vagina..

HPV is the abbreviation of Human Papilloma Virus. It is the virus that can cause cervical cancer.

Yes, HPV is transmitted through sex. The virus is highly contagious: 80 of every 100 sexually active men and women become infected with the virus. This means that 80 percent of these men and women will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives. The virus is almost always cleared by the body on its own.

You will not notice if you're infected with HPV. Most HPV infections cause no symptoms and resolve spontaneously.

You can get infected with HPV by having sex or sexual contact with someone who is infected. The virus is on and around the penis or vagina. The virus can also spread to other places during sex. For example on the hands and in the mouth.

. You can reduce your risk of developing HPV infections by:

  • Using a latex condom, which reduces transmission by 70%
  • Reducing your number of sexual partners
  • Being in a mutually monogamous sexual relationship

Your body almost always clears the virus itself. It takes 1 to 2 years for the body to get rid of the virus completely. Sometimes your body cannot clear the virus properly. You will then remain infected for a longer time and you have a greater chance of developing cervical cancer.

No, there are no medicines for HPV. Your body has to clear the infection on its own.

Mildly to moderately abnormal cells (CIN2) disappear within 2 years on average in half of the cases.. There is no treatment for the virus specifically but there are treatments for the related issues that it causes, including cervical precancer and HPV-related cancers. Your GP will inform you which treatment is suitable to your specific case.

The chance that moderately to severely abnormal cells (CIN3) will disappear on their own is smaller. These are almost always treated by the gynaecologist. Treatment can prevent the developing of cervical cancer. A precancerous stage sometimes turns into cervical cancer. This usually takes at least 10 to 15 years. 

Usually, the body clears HPV within 2 years. There is no medication or treatment to clear up the HPV. The chance of HPV leading to cervical cancer is less than 1%.

If the cells in the cervix change, you may experience the following symptoms over time:

  • bleeding during or immediately after sex
  • postmenopausal bleeding, for example if you have not had a period for over a year
  • bleeding between periods
  • abnormal vaginal discharge

No, that is not possible. If there is blood in the swab test, it cannot be examined properly.

If you've had surgery on your uterus, you may not need to participate. This depends on whether your cervix has also been removed. If you still have a cervix, a swab test is useful. If you are in doubt, please ask your doctor.

Yes, you can also get cervical cancer after menopause. You will receive an invitation for the cervical cancer screening up to and including the age of 60.

If you are pregnant or have just given birth, it is better not to participate in the screening. A swab test during pregnancy can sometimes lead to discomfort such as blood loss and if you have no complaints, it is better to postpone it until after the pregnancy.

If you have any complaints, such as unusual discharge or bleeding immediately after sex, please contact your doctor. The doctor can then make a swab test. This can also be done during pregnancy and is not harmful.

You can participate in the cervical cancer screening from 6 weeks after the birth

We recommend you to contact your GP.

When HPV-viral cells are not cleared by the body this may develop in abnormal cells and possibly into cervical cancer. This usually takes 10 to 15 years. Research has shown that having a swab for screening every year is not necessary.