Cervical cancer control in Japan

A. Yajima, Nobuo Yaegashi, S. Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Mass-screening for cervical cancer in Japan was instituted in Miyagi prefecture in 1962 and has become national. It used to be supported by each local government but the national government established a Health and Medical Services Law for the Aged in 1983 to promote mass-screening as a national health project. The number of examinees increased annually and reached 4.2 million per year and the number of cervical cancer patients detected by the mass-screening program reached three thousand per year in 1991. The percentage of the population covered by the mass-screening project was 12% of all the females aged 30 and over in Japan. The screening rate varied by perfecture with the highest rate being 30% in Miyagi in 1991. The age- adjusted incidence of cervical cancer increases annually and was 10.9 per 100,000 females in 1990. Age-adjusted mortality also decreases annually and was 3.7 per 100,000 females. Mortality from cervical cancer used to be the most common gynecological cancer but is now the seventh most common. Some recent issues in cervical cancer control include the following. Examinees by the mass-screening project tend to be examined annually, while women who do not want to be examined refuse the mass-screening every year despite aggressive campaigning. This is shown by the fact that along with the increasing screening rate, there has been a decreasing detection rate. The screening rate of older women is lower than that of younger women and mortality among older women remains high. This tendency decreases the impact of the mass-screening project on decreasing mortality. Another issue is that cervical adenocarcinoma is not as efficiently screened by the program as squamous cell carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of STD/HIV Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Dermatology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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