2015 Volume 25 Issue 1 Pages 50-56
Background: Finding ways to improve the cervical cancer screening rates among young women has been seen as a critical national health problem in many countries, including Japan. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a free-coupon program for cervical cancer screening conducted by a local government under financial support from the Japanese national government.
Methods: The personal cervical cancer screening information was analyzed for all female residents of Toyonaka City, including any past screening history and clinical results since the year 2009, when a free-coupon program for screening was started. These results were compared to results from 2008, prior to implementation of the free-coupon screening program.
Results: The screening rates of women eligible for the free-coupon peaked dramatically compared to women of similar age who paid for their screening; however, the rates for the ineligible-age population also increased significantly in parallel to those in the free-coupon program, possibly by indirect peer and publicity effects. In women aged 20 to 25 years, the consecutive screening rate after a free-coupon screening was significantly lower than for those women who received a regular residential screening. After a free-coupon screening, the rate for participating in consecutive screenings depended significantly on the institution where the participant received her first screening test.
Conclusions: These results suggest that, for a generation of young women 20–25 years of age, a free-coupon program for cervical cancer screening was effective in increasing the first-time participation rate for screening; however, the increase in first-time participation did not lead to the expected increase in consecutive screenings.