Last May, the government pledged to make cervical cancer screening free of charge, which affects 3,000 women and causes 1,100 deaths each year in France. Currently, 40% of women have not tested yet every three years, for those aged 25 to 65 years.
A technique that allows better screening
For now, the prevention of this cancer is based mainly on the smear, a technique to collect cells of the cervix for analysis. It also consists of treatment of precancerous lesions and vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV, sexually transmitted viruses that cause cancer).
In 2017, the National Cancer Institute (INCa) and the French Society of Colposcopy and Cervico-Vaginal Pathology (SFCPCV) made new recommendations for screening. Currently, the standard smear does not always reveal a pathology whereas in 30% of cases, pre-cancerous lesions could have been detected in women over 30 years of age by an HPV viral test. A test that they want to be reimbursed by the Health Insurance.
35 euros not refunded
"Eighteen months after their publication, Medicare has not taken into account the new recommendations in reimbursements, leaving most of the women in our country an optimal screening," say the specialists. Judged "essential", the HPV test remains the responsibility of patients for a cost of 35 euros. "If they do not have money they can not afford it, it's not normal," says Dr. Bernard Huynh gynecologist-obstetrician, treasurer of the SFCPCV.
For the time being, the HPV test is reimbursed only if anomalies have been identified and this additional test becomes necessary. With these new recommendations, the National Cancer Institute and SFCPCV wish to generalize the reimbursement of the HPV test for an optimal screening for cervical cancer. "This lack of repayment update prevents the most disadvantaged from accessing progress," Dr. Huynh concludes.
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