Cancer screening programmes
The first nationwide population cancer screening programme in the Netherlands was introduced in 1990 and aimed at detecting breast cancer in women. Around one million women, 75% of the target group, participate in the programme each year. Women aged 50 till 75 receive an invitation every two years. The screening is performed using mammography inside a mobile screening unit. In this way, the screening locations are placed inside communities and therefore easily accessible for participating women.
The health gain of the breast cancer screening programme is estimated at 850 - 1000 prevented deaths annually. For the colorectal cancer screening programme it is estimated that 2250 deaths due to colorectal cancer will be prevented by 2030 on an annual basis. In addition, switching to hrHPV screening and adding the self-sampling device to the cervical cancer screening programme will potentially prevent 100 extra cases of cervical cancer and 35 deaths every year.
The most recent participation rates for cancer screening are listed in the table below.
|Breast cancer screening||73%||2021|
|Cervical cancer screening||56%||2021|
|Colorectal cancer screening||71%||2021|
Prenatal and neonatal screening programmes
The firstblood test offered during pregnancy screens for infectious diseases and erythrocyte immunization. It aims to detect hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV infection, in addition to determining the blood groups and presence of antibodies against blood groups. The participation rate for this test has been stable since 2006 and is internationally acknowledged as very high, each year > 99% of pregnant women.
NIPT and combined test
For detecting Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndrome, expectant parents can choose between two screening tests, the Non Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) or the combined test. The NIPT was introduced in 2017 and offered in the context of a national scientific study. This test is found to be more accurate in detecting abnormal findings than the combined test. The combined test, NIPT and the twenty-week ultrasound, are provided together with prior counselling.
Participation rates prenatal and newborn screenings
In addition to pregnancy blood tests, both screenings for newborns (hearing screening and the heel prick) are characterized by a very high participation rate (both >99%). In 2018, 528 children were referred after the heel prick test result, and at least 145 children had the diagnosis confirmed. After the hearing screening, 580 children were referred to an audiologic centre and 231 children had the diagnosis of hearing impairment confirmed. With the early recognition and treatment of hearing impairment in young children the development of speech and (spoken) language can be improved.
|DEP screening with NIPT||44%||2018|
|DEP screening with combined test||3%||2018|
|Newborn blood spot screening||>99%||2018|
|Newborn hearing screening||>99%||2018|