Registry-based assessment of the status of cervical screening in Sweden

J Med Screen. 2016 Dec;23(4):217-226. doi: 10.1177/0969141316632023. Epub 2016 Apr 11.


Objectives: Comprehensive nationwide monitoring and evaluation of screening through registry-based review of key indicators is necessary for programme optimization, especially as new tests and strategies are introduced. We aimed to investigate and report on the use of these key indicators in the Swedish programme.

Setting and methods: Organized population-based cervical screening targeting women aged 23-50 and 51-60 every three and five years, respectively, is regionally implemented in Sweden. All cytological and histopathological test results and invitations are exported to the National Cervical Screening Registry. We describe the methods to obtain registry-based quality indicators by age, region, and calendar period.

Results: In 2013, there were 633,592 cervical smears in Sweden, of which 69% were organized smears resulting from an invitation. Screening test coverage for women aged 23-60 was 80% and similar for the previous decade, but varied greatly between and within counties over-time. Among women aged 23-25, test coverage increased dramatically during the previous six years, reaching 87% in 2013. The proportion of women with cytological high-grade cervical lesions found in cytology that had been followed-up with biopsy within one year was 97%. Major variations in cervical cancer incidence between counties were observed.

Conclusions: Registry-based analyses of key quality indicators provided the basis for prioritizing improvements of the organized cervical screening programme.

Keywords: Registry; cervical cancer; prevention; quality indicators; screening.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Papanicolaou Test / statistics & numerical data*
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Young Adult