The early detection of intraepithelial lesions of the cervix, through the periodic examination of cervical cells, has been fundamental for the prevention of invasive cervical cancer and its related mortality. In this report, we summarise the cervical cancer screening activities carried out in Catalonia, Spain, within the National Health System during 2008–2011. The study population covers over two million women resident in the area. The evaluation includes 758,690 cervical cytologies performed on a total of 595,868 women. The three-year coverage of cervical cytology among women aged between 25 and 65 years was 40.8%. About 50% of first screened women with negative results had not returned to the second screening round. The introduction of high-risk human papillomavirus DNA (HPV) detection, as a primary screening cotest with cytology among women over age 40 with a poor screening history, significantly improved the detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse (CIN2 ), being far superior to cytology alone. Cotesting did not improve the detection of CIN2 . The use of the HPV test for the triage of atypical squamous cell undetermined significance (ASC-US) improved the selection of women at high risk of CIN2 .
Sampling (both cytology and HPV test) was largely performed by midwives (66.7%), followed by obstetricians (23.8%) and nurses (7%). Over half of the centres (54.8%) had full use of online medical records. During the study period, educational activities for professionals and for women were carried out periodically.
The organisation of screening as a population activity in which women are actively called to the screening visit and the introduction of HPV testing as a primary screening tool are strongly recommended to ensure the maximum population impact in the reduction of the cervical cancer burden.