Socio-demographic characteristics of participation in the opportunistic German cervical cancer screening programme: results from the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort

  • David Seidel
  • Nikolaus Becker
  • Sabine Rohrmann
  • Katharina Nimptsch
  • Jakob Linseisen
Original Paper



To analyse participation in the German cervical cancer screening programme by socio-demographic characteristics.


In the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort study 13,612 women aged 35–65 years were recruited between 1994 and 1998. Follow-up questionnaires were used to analyse participation in cervical cancer screening. Subjects were categorised according to age (birth cohort), education, vocational training, employment status, marital status and household size. Associations between socio-demographic characteristics and participation in cervical cancer screening were analysed using multinomial logistic regression.


Females of the oldest and middle birth cohort were less likely to be screened compared to the youngest birth cohort. Less-educated women and those with a low-level secondary school degree had a decreased likelihood of undergoing screening in comparison to better educated women. Married women and women living in households with four or more persons were more likely to participate in the screening programme than single women or women living alone. Employment status did not modify participation in cervical cancer screening.


Knowledge on the characteristics of women with a lower attendance to cervical cancer screening could be used to improve the effectiveness of the current (opportunistic) programme by dedicated health promotion programmes. However, an organized screening programme with written invitation of all eligible women would be the preferred option.


Cervical cancer Screening Socio-demographic characteristics EPIC-Heidelberg Germany 



We thank all women of the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort study for providing the information used for the present study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Seidel
    • 1
  • Nikolaus Becker
    • 1
  • Sabine Rohrmann
    • 1
  • Katharina Nimptsch
    • 1
  • Jakob Linseisen
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cancer EpidemiologyGerman Cancer Research CenterHeidelbergGermany

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