The cancer screening monitoring system: Indicators for organised programmes and possible extension to spontaneous screening

P. Giorgi Rossi, A. Federici, M. Zappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


European Commission recommends the implementation of organized screening programs for cervical cancer based on active invitation of the target population and with a systematic monitoring system and quality assurance. Nevertheless, in many Member States opportunistic screening is still the only or the main way to access Pap test. In Italy, Pap test coverage in women aged 25-64 is close to 80%, about half of them are screened in organized programs and half by opportunistic screening. Organized programs are diffused in the vast majority of the country (78% in 2009) even if in some cases they are not able to actively invite all the target population every three years (actual extension 67%); furthermore, participation rate after invitation is quite low (39%). Organized screening programs showed performance indicators in line with most of the international standards: low referral rates (2.4%), low inadequate cytological results (4.7%), and high positive predictive value for high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (16.2%). Opportunistic screening has no systematic monitoring system. The coexistence of the two screening models, organized programs and opportunistic, can be a source of inappropriate use of secondary prevention duplicating the tests and favoring deviations from recommended protocols. The Italian Ministry of Health recommends re-organizing cervical cancer prevention favoring organized programs or integrating spontaneous Pap testing in an organized system. To implement such integration it is necessary to have monitoring system and quality assurance for all providers and to integrate archives in order to avoid over-testing and deviation from protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-85
Number of pages3
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cervical cancer
  • Mass screening
  • Performance indicators
  • Quality assurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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