National Data Analysis and Systematic Review for Human Resources for Cervical Cancer Screening in Japan

Chisato Hamashima, Seiju Sasaki, Satoyo Hosono, Keika Hoshi, Takafumi Katayama, Teruhiko Terasawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although cervical cancer screening has been performed as a national program since 1983 in Japan, the participation rate has remained below 20%. Equity of access is a basic requirement for cancer screening. However, taking smears from the cervix has been limited to gynecologists or obstetricians in Japan and it might be a barrier for accessibility. We examined the current access and its available human resources for cervical cancer screening in Japan. Methods: We analyzed the number of gynecologists and obstetricians among 47 prefectures based on a national survey. A systematic review was performed to clarify disparity and use of human resources in cervical cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment for cervical cancers in Japan. Candidate literature was searched using Ovid-MEDLINE and Ichushi-Web until the end of January 2020. Then, a systematic review regarding accessibility to cervical cancer screening was performed. The results of the selected articles were summarized in the tables. Results: Although the total number of all physicians in Japan increased from 1996 to 2016, the proportion of gynecologists and obstetricians has remained at approximately 5% over the last 2 decades. 43.6% of municipalities have no gynecologists and obstetricians in 2016. Through a systematic review, 4 English articles and 1 Japanese article were selected. From these 5 articles, the association between human resources and participation rates in cervical cancer screening was examined in 2 articles. Conclusions: The human resources for taking smears for cervical cancer screening has remained insufficient with a huge disparity among municipalities in Japan. To improve accessibility for cervical cancer screening another option which may be considered could be involving general physicians as potential smear takers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1695-1702
Number of pages8
JournalAsian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 06-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cancer Research


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