The amount of diagnostic and treatment procedures induced by cervical cancer screening has been assessed prospectively and related to mortality reduction. Assumptions are based on data from Dutch screening programmes and on a scenario for future developments. With 5 invitations for screening, between ages 37–70 every eight years, 13 deaths are avoided per million women per screening year. Each death avoided is balanced by 2800 preventive smears, 9 women referred to a gynaecology department and 4 minor treatment procedures (conserving treatment or exconisation). 25 invitations in a life-time avoids 27 deaths per million women per screening year but with 7300 preventive smears, 22 referrals and 8 small treatment procedures. Thus intensifying screening will not only result in diminishing returns of extra screening efforts, but also in increasing risk for women to undergo unnecessary (no invasive disease or death avoided) diagnostic and treatment procedures. The balance between beneficial and adverse effects deteriorates strongly when hysterectomies play an important part in the management of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.

doi.org/10.1016/0277-5379(90)90615-Z, hdl.handle.net/1765/57076
European Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Ballegooijen, M., Koopmanschap, M., van Oortmarssen, G., Habbema, D., van der Lubbe, N., & van Agt, H. (1990). Diagnostic and treatment procedures induced by cervical cancer screening. European Journal of Cancer, 26(9), 941–945. doi:10.1016/0277-5379(90)90615-Z