Cervical cancer screening in the Faroe Islands

T. Hammer, E. Lynge, G.W. Djurhuus, J.E. Joensen, J.E. Køtlum, S.Ó. Hansen, B.B. Sander, O. Mogensen, Matejka Rebolj

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Background. The Faroe Islands have had nationally organised cervical cancer screening since 1995. Women aged 25–60 years are invited every third year. Participation is free of charge. Although several European overviews on cervical screening are available, none have included the Faroe Islands. Our aim was to provide the first description of cervical cancer screening, and to determine the screening history of women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the Faroe Islands.

    Material and methods. Screening data from 1996 to 2012 were obtained from the Diagnostic Centre at the National Hospital of the Faroe Islands. They included information on cytology and HPV testing whereas information on histology was not registered consistently. Process indicators were calculated, including coverage rate, excess smears, proportion of abnormal cytological samples, and frequency of HPV testing. Data on cervical cancer cases were obtained from the Faroese Ministry of Health Affairs. The analysis of the screening history was undertaken for cases diagnosed in 2000–2010.

    Results. A total of 52 457 samples were taken in 1996–2012. Coverage varied between 67% and 81% and was 71% in 2012. Excess smears decreased after 1999. At present, 7.0% of samples have abnormal cytology. Of all ASCUS samples, 76–95% were tested for HPV. A total of 58% of women diagnosed with cervical cancer did not participate in screening prior to their diagnosis, and 32% had normal cytology in the previous four years.

    Conclusion. Despite the difficult geographical setting, the organised cervical cancer screening programme in the Faroe Islands has achieved a relatively high coverage rate. Nevertheless, challenges, e.g. consistent histology registration and sending reminders, still exist.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)210-216
    Number of pages7
    JournalActa Oncologica
    Issue number2
    Early online date15 Dec 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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