A five minute test to save your life
During European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, the Irish Family Planning Association and CervicalCheck are urging women aged 25-60 to check when their next smear is due, or to book their first test with a doctor or nurse registered with CervicalCheck.
Across Europe, 30,000 women die from cervical cancer every year with more than 300 women diagnosed in Ireland each year.
Get your smear test booked
Speaking at the Pearl of Wisdom campaign launch this week, Dr. Gráinne Flannelly, Clinical Director of CervicalCheck commented: “Each year in Ireland, around 300 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer and over 90 women die from the disease. The cervical screening provided by CervicalCheck, combined with the HPV vaccination programme, provides the opportunity to significantly reduce these rates.”
Some 79% of the eligible 1.2 million women have taken part in the CervicalCheck screening programme since it started, with over 50,000 women treated for precancerous changes, reducing their risk of cervical cancer by 90%.
Dr Flannelly added: “So this week, we are calling on all women aged 25 to 60 to check when their next smear test is due, or arrange their first test with a doctor or nurse registered with CervicalCheck if they have never done so. And to share the wisdom with other women.”
Women of all ages are at risk
IFPA Medical Director, Dr Caitriona Henchion said “There’s sometimes a perception that this is a younger woman’s issue; women think they don’t have to worry about cervical cancer after age 50. But women in middle age are still very much at risk.”
Dr Henchion continued, “Cervical cancer takes a long time to develop and often has no symptoms. Through screening, we can pick up abnormalities at the pre-cancer stage, when it is easily treatable. Having your smear test is a quick, free and painless way to prevent the development of cervical cancer.”
Broadcaster Maura Derrane is the Pearl of Wisdom campaign ambassador: “We’re all busy, and it’s easy to put off having your smear test. Especially as women, we often put caring for everyone else ahead of looking after our own health. But this test is so important. Tell your mother, your sister, your daughter, your friend. It only takes five minutes, and it really could save your life.”