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.
2014 Yutaka Ueda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.