Many serious diseases can be treated more effectively if they are diagnosed at an early stage, before any symptoms emerge. Examples include breast cancer, cervical cancer and hereditary high cholesterol. The Dutch government offers a number of screening programmes.
Sooner or later, everyone in the Netherlands will be invited to take part in a population screening. The purpose of screening is to identify (life threatening) diseases at the earliest possible stage so that prompt treatment can be given. The screening programmes therefore help to enhance public health.
RIVM directs, manages and coordinates the national population screening programmes for cervical cancer, breast cancer and hereditary high cholesterol. We ensure that the chain of health care providers responsible for diagnosis and treatment can function as effectively as possible. Each link in that chain has its own responsibilities and authority. RIVM is also responsible for providing clear public information. We coordinate and direct population screening programmes on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).