Background: Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. Unfortunately, its mortality is high in Hungary: 9.2 deaths /100000 women/year in 2015. The Hungarian organized, nationwide cervical screening program was launched in 2003, but it could improve the coverage rate of cervical cancer screening only by a few percentage points. The vast majority of women still uses opportunistic screening and the organized screening program had little impact on participation by women who never or rarely consult their gynecologists. We assessed whether involving general practitioners in the cervical cancer screening process would increase participation. Methods: The study consisted of two parts: 1. A questionnaire-based health survey was conducted using a representative sample of women aged 25 to 65 years from 11 Hungarian counties, in which we studied where women obtained information about cervical cancer screening. 2. Additionally, a model program and its evaluation were implemented in the practices of general practitioners in one of the 11 counties (Zala county). In this program, general practitioners were informed of their patients' participation in the cervical cancer screening program, and they motivated those who refused the invitation. Results: Questionnaire-based health survey: A total of 74% (95% confidence interval (CI): 70-77%) of the target population had a screening examination within the previous 3 years. The majority (58, 95% CI: 54-62%) of the target population did not ask for information about cervical cancer screening at all. Only 21% (95% CI: 17-26%) consulted their general practitioners about cancer screening. Evaluation of the model program: the general practitioners effectively motivated 24 out of 88 women (27, 95% CI: 18-38%) who initially refused to participate in the screening program. Conclusion: The majority of Hungarian women are not informed about cervical cancer screening beyond the invitation letter. General practitioners could play a more important role in mobilizing the population to utilize preventive services. The involvement of general practitioners in the organization of the cervical cancer screening program could increase the participation of those women who generally refuse the services.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Family Practice