The set of future measures defined by the experts who prepared the most recent report on the evaluation and monitoring of population-based oncological screenings (breast, cervical, colon and rectum cancer), include that the standard costs of consultations, “should be similar in all regions”.

The document also points out the need to standardise screening procedures in all regions, through the implementation of measures to be published this year, as well as sharing information programmes for the population to improve adherence rates. These programmes, experts argue, must be “specific for each screening program”.

Statistics show an improvement in coverage rates of the various screenings, however, there was also a reduction in the adherence rate, especially in colon and rectal cancer screening (from 51 percent in 2021 to 41 percent in 2022).

To help increase the population’s adherence to screenings, the document also indicates the possibility of making screening times more flexible or extending their schedules.

Among the objectives of the DGS are the integration of information on breast cancer screening into the Plataforma de Gestão dos Rastreios de Base Populacional, the creation of mechanisms for “periodic monitoring and certification” of the technical quality of the laboratories responsible for primary tests and of the units which carry out the secondary tests integrated into screening.

Those responsible also defend the creation of control and monitoring mechanisms which guarantee compliance with clinically appropriate times for the treatment of identified positive cases, as well as management of the prescription of oncological screening tests in areas fully covered by population-based oncological screening.

The DGS also intends to formalise the interrelationship between the electronic screening management platforms and the RON, which has been achieved in certain areas north of the country, with data from 2021 data regarding colon and rectal cancer screenings.

The organisation also defends the development of an electronic tool for the publication and consultation of screening activity data, by the population, on the DGS website.

Data revealed that at the end of 2022, the highest population coverage rate of the three existing screening programs (breast, cervix, colon and rectum) was reached, but there are issues of low adherence in cases such as breast, colon and rectal cancer screenings.