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CERVICALCHECK TODAY MOVES TO SCREENING BY INVITATION

In line with best international practice, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme is today moving to an organised call, re-call and opt-in method of invitation to maximise uptake among eligible women aged 25 to 60. CervicalCheck has a register of eligible women and over the next three year screening round, will send eligible women nationwide an invitation for their free smear test by post.

As of 1 September 2009, women will need a letter of invitation from CervicalCheck to avail of a free smear test. With an invitation letter, women can have a free smear test with any smeartaker (doctor or practice nurse) registered with the Programme. Over 4,150 GPs, practice nurses, Women’s Health, Family Planning and Well Woman Clinics nationwide are registered.

A smear test is a simple procedure that only takes minutes, and is the most effective way to detect changes in the cells of the cervix. A successful national programme in Ireland, based on 80 per cent uptake has the potential to cut the incidence rate of cervical cancer by 80 per cent.

Commenting on the transition, Tony O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer of the National Cancer Screening Service said: “CervicalCheck has a national register of women aged 25 to 60. Over each three year screening round, all women aged 25 to 60 will be invited for screening. Invitation letters will be issued to women evenly across all age ranges. The transition to screening by invitation will ensure that an effective and efficient approach to screening is maintained and that the essential target uptake is achieved.”

Any woman who has not had a smear test in the last three years can opt-in to the Programme simply by registering online at www.cervicalcheck.ie, by completing and returning a form by Freepost, or by calling CervicalCheck on Freephone 1800 45 45 55 to request an invitation. Certain women are eligible for a free smear test without a CervicalCheck invitation letter. These include women aged over 60 who have never had a smear test and women of any age post colposcopy.

Women who have availed of a CervicalCheck smear test since 1 September 2008 will automatically be re-called when their next smear test is due.

Registered smeartakers were notified of the transition in July, allowing time to accommodate appointments scheduled in July and August. In addition, the NCSS discussed the transition in detail with The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO); The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP); The Dublin Well Woman Centres; The Irish Family Planning Association; The Marie Keating Foundation; and The Irish Cancer Society.

 Since launched on 1 September 2008, CervicalCheck has proven very successful with uptake rates remaining consistently high. Any woman that has availed of a CervicalCheck smear test since 1 September 2008 will automatically be re-called when her next smear test is due.

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