(HealthDay News) — Cervical cancer screening rates (CCS-Rs) in Japan were significantly lower in the years following the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, according to a study recently published online in PLOS ONE.

Yasuhiro Miki, from Tohoku University in Japan, and colleagues examined the CCS-Rs from 2009 to 2016 in 45 areas of the Miyagi Prefecture before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The researchers found that in the four areas impacted by the tsunami after the earthquake, there was a marked decrease in the CCS-Rs in 2011 when the earthquake took place (more than a 3 percent decrease versus the previous year). In 2016, the CCS-Rs in these four regions remained 6.9 percent lower than levels seen before the earthquake. CCS-Rs in coastal areas (nine areas) were significantly lower than those in the noncoastal areas (36 areas) from 2009 to 2016, except for 2014.

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“The establishment of a comprehensive medical system, including medical screening after a disaster, is important for the management of women’s health,” the authors write.

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