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Chaos in the free screening program for cervical cancer: Money available for 300,000 tests, only 100,000 actually performed

General practitioners aren’t getting involved and the budget allotted for the cervical cancer screening program cannot be predicted. These are the main deficiencies of the National Screening Program for Cervical Cancer, according to Carmen Ungurean, the coordinator of the program.

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471,000 women have been tested since 2012, when the program started. “Last year, we had enough money and we could have done 300-350,000 tests all around the country, but only 139.000 were done. This year, we don’t have a definitive budget yet, because the laws that regulate the implementation of the national program will only be applicable starting April 1”, said Carmen Ungurean, as quoted by Agerpres.

Half of the general practitioners aren’t getting involved

She also told us that about 40% of all general practitioners haven’t registered for the program. “(…) We do have areas where the GPs are active and involved in mobilizing the female population”, she added. Carmen Ungurean mentioned that, out of all the women tested, 6.8% showed lesions, and 0.4% were confirmed with cervical cancer. However, everyone should keep in mind that the test doesn’t find the actual cancer, only potential lesions. In Romania, we have 34 cases of cervical cancer for every 100,000 people, while the European average only reaches 17/100,000.

In general, the GP should be the one to refer women aged 25 to 64 to get the free analysis that shows lesions precursory to cervical cancer. The patients should go to certain hospitals/clinics specializing in OB-GYN and that have registered for this program. The tests will then go back to the GP, who can refer the patient to a specialist or not, depending on the result.

Considering the fact that so few general practitioners are getting involved, the number of women tested is still very small.

Geta Roman Neacsu

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