New campaign urges Laois women to go for cervical cancer test

Pearl of Wisdom campaign points to report which shows women are least likely to attend for smear tests

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Laois women urged to attend for free smear tests during European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Women aged 25-60 and living in Laois, are being called upon to support the Pearl of Wisdom campaign run by the National Cervical Screening Programme and the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).

The campaign officially launched by campaign ambassador, RTE broadcaster Maura Derrane, just ahead of European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which runs from 22nd – 28th January.

The campaign aims to raise awareness on the importance of regular smear testing for women across Ireland. Throughout the week, CervicalCheck will distribute 22,000 free Pearl of Wisdom pins, which are a symbol of cervical cancer prevention. The campaign also aims to encourage women aged 25-60 to check that they are registered for free cervical screening and to ensure that they attend regular screening appointments.

The call for the women of Laois to support the campaign, follows a recently published report by CervicalCheck which identified Laois, as one of a small number of counties in Ireland, where women are least likely to attend a smear test appointment.

Nationally, screening rates are generally good and Ireland has one of the most successful cervical screening programmes in the Europe, but there is always more we can do.

CervicalCheck offers screening to women aged 25-60 in Ireland. It’s free, only takes a few minutes and it could save your life. This is the message from Clinical Director for CervicalCheck, Dr Grainne Flannelly who spoke at the launch.

“Each year in Ireland, around 300 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer and over 90 women die from the disease. With the HPV vaccination programme and regular cervical screening provided by CervicalCheck, we have the opportunity to significantly reduce these rates.

“Over 79% of the eligible 1.2 million women have taken part in CervicalCheck and we aim to increase this even further. Since the programme started, over 50,000 women have been treated for precancerous changes, reducing their risk of cervical cancer by 90%. 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 if they have never done so. We also want those who have had their test to share the wisdom with other women.”

Women aged between 25 and 60 can check when their next smear test is due, if they are on the register and can change their address online at www.cervicalcheck.ie or by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55.