Cancer screening

IKNL monitors the performance of the three national cancer screening programmes, breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer, on behalf of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Every year, IKNL provides reports containing the most important outcomes of the population screening compared to previous years. These reports include performance on participation, the number of referrals and the number of deviations found.

The Dutch cancer screening programmes are coordinated by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Monitoring helps to ensure the quality of the screening programme and identifies trends. 

Monitor breast cancer screening

The National Breast Cancer Screening Programme is designed for women between 50 and 75 years of age. Once every 2 years, women in this age group are invited for a mammogram. In The Netherlands approximately 14,000 women per year are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and approximately 2,400 with in-situ breast cancer. The average age at the time of diagnosis is approximately 61 years.

Each year around 3,­000 women die as a consequence of breast cancer. Approximately 1 in 8 women in the Netherlands will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. This makes breast cancer the most prevalent type of cancer in the Netherlands, with a ten-year prevalence of 128,000.


Monitor cervical cancer screening

Screening for cervical cancer focuses on women between thirty and sixty years old. Once every five years, women in this age group are invited for participation. The aim of the screening is the early detection of cervical cancer and the conditions that lead to cervical cancer. By using the National Cervical Cancer Screening Programme, cervical cancer can be prevented by detecting and treating pre-cancerous lesions. In addition, sometimes early staged cervical cancer is detected which gives a better prognosis. 

The participation rate in 2021 was 54.8%: 42.7% participated by a smear test, 12,1% participated via a selfsampling kit (SSK). The participation rate was thereby lower than in 2018 and 2019. 

Please find more facts and figures about the cervical cancer screening in the past years.


Monitor colorectal cancer screening

The Dutch national screening programme for colorectal cancer (CRC) started januari 2014. This screening is for men and women in the age group 55 to 75 years. This colorectal cancer screening programme might prevent colorectal cancer by detecting and removing advanced adenomas (large polyps). In addition, colorectal cancer might be detected at an early stage, resulting in a better prognosis. 

In 2021, the participation rate in the colorectal cancer screening was 70.6%. In total, more than 1.6 million people participated. Of these 1.6 million participants, 4.6% had an unfavourable FIT result. This corresponds to more than 74,000 participants who were referred for a colonoscopy. 84.1% of these referred participants underwent a colonoscopy. 2,790 colorectal cancers and 16,878 advanced adenomas were detected.

Please find more facts and figures about the colorectal cancer screening in the Netherlands in the monitors below. 


Read more about the Dutch cancer screening programmes on the website of the RIVM