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Invitation strategies and coverage in the population-based cancer screening programmes in the European Union

Vale, Diama B.a; Anttila, Ahtib; Ponti, Antoniod; Senore, Carlod; Sankaranaryanan, Rengaswamye; Ronco, Guglielmod; Segnan, Nereod; Tomatis, Marianod; Žakelj, Maja P.f; Elfström, Klara M.g; Lönnberg, Stefanc,i; Dillner, Joakimh; Basu, Parthae

European Journal of Cancer Prevention: March 2019 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - p 131–140
doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000426
Research Papers: Screening

The aim of this study was to describe the compliance of the population-based cancer screening programmes in the European Union Member States to the invitation strategies enumerated in the European Guidelines and the impact of such strategies on the invitational coverage. Experts in screening programme monitoring from the respective countries provided data. Coverage by invitation was calculated as the proportion of individuals in the target age range receiving a screening invitation over the total number of annualized eligible population. The invitation strategies of 30 breasts, 25 cervical and 27 colorectal national or regional population-based screening programmes are described. Individual mail invitations are sent by 28 breasts, 20 cervical and 25 colorectal screening programmes. Faecal occult blood test kits are sent by post in 17 of the colorectal cancer screening programmes. The majority of programmes claimed to have a population registry, although some use health insurance data as the database for sending invitations. At least 95% invitation coverage was reached by 16 breast, six cervical and five colorectal screening programmes. Majority of the programmes comply with the invitation strategies enumerated in the European guidelines, although there is still scope for improvements. Coverage by invitation is below the desirable level in many population-based cancer screening programmes in European Union.

aDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, Brazil

bMass Screening Registry/Finnish Cancer Registry

cFinnish Cancer Registry, Helsinki, Finland

dCPO Piemonte and University Hospital ‘Cittàdella Salute e dellaScienza’, Turin, Italy

eScreening Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France

fInstitute of Oncology Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

gRegionaltcancercentrum Stockholm-Gotland

hSwedish Cervical Screening Registry, Stockholm, Sweden

iCancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway

Correspondence to Partha Basu, MD, Screening Group, Early Detection and Prevention Section, International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO), 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France Tel: +33 472 738 167; fax: +33 472 738 518; e-mail:

Received November 24, 2017

Accepted December 11, 2017

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