Ministry of Health Proposes Free Cervical Cancer Screening Tests For Women at 35 and 45
Already, about 80% of women had the cancer screening test at least once in the two year period from 2016-17. Providing the test for free is another step taken by the Ministry, together with professional medical societies, to help minimise the incidence of the disease in the Czech Republic. Photo credit: Freepik / For illustrative purposes.
Czech Rep., Aug 20 (BD) – The Ministry of Health has announced proposals, in cooperation with other professional medical societies, to provide preventive Human Papillomavirus (HPV) tests for free to all women aged 35 and 45. The plan is supported by the health insurance companies, who have committed to pay for the procedures.
According to the Ministry of Health, the prevention of cervical cancer is one of its priorities in the area of women’s health. All modern methods of primary and secondary prevention of cervical cancer are available in Czech Republic. Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said that the prevention of cervical cancer is essential, and that screening, which aims in particular to detect pre-tumor conditions, helps detect tens of thousands of abnormalities on the cervical mucosa every year. “In the last ten years, the incidence of the disease has decreased by 25% and mortality from this cancer has decreased by 14%,” he added.
The Czech Republic is following a 2003 recommendation from the Council of the European Union, for a cervical cancer screening programme to detect the disease at a stage when it is more easily treatable. About 80% of women had a cervical cancer screening test at least once in the two year period 2016-17, significantly above the World Health Organisation’s 70% requirement. This has resulted in a decreased mortality rate from cervical cancer in recent years, according to the Ministry.
Also available are the highly sensitive tests which help detect HPV infection and vaccination against HPV for children before the onset of their sexual life, which has been covered by public health insurance since 2012 for girls aged 13 to 14, and since 2018 also for boys of the same age. Vladimír Dvořák, chairman of the Czech Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, part of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně Czech Medical Society (ČLS JEP), said that administering the vaccine before the onset of sexual life can prevent up to 90% of occurrence of cervical cancer.
According to the ministry, providing HPV tests for women at the ages of 35 and 45 is another step towards preventing cervical cancer. The plan has the support of the Gynecological and Obstetrical Society of the ČLS JEP, the Society of Czech Pathologists, the Society of Clinical Cytology, and Czech health insurance companies.
According to David Šmehlík, Assistant Director of insurance company VZP: “We support the proposal of the ministry and the professional societies to provide the HPV test to women aged 35 and 45 as a complement to the current model of early detection.”
The reimbursement proposal is now part of the legislative process and should become effective from next year.