The ongoing monitoring of each screening programme is entrusted to an independent organisation. This organisation annually collects tabulated data on invitations, participation, examinations, referrals and detected abnormalities. This data is published in the programme-specific Monitors.

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.  

Disease prevention

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.

Participation rate

The most recent participation rates for cancer screening are listed in the table below.

Data are from the most recent monitors of the screening programmes
Programme Participation rate Year
Breast cancer screening 77% 2018
Cervical cancer screening 58% 2018
Colorectal cancer screening 73% 2018

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.

Data are from the most recent monitors of the screening programmes
Programme Participation rate Year
PSIE >99% 2017
DEP screening with NIPT 44% 2018
DEP screening with combined test 3% 2018
SEO 83% 2018
Newborn blood spot screening >99% 2018
Newborn hearing screening >99% 2018