CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme has published screening statistics for the programme’s sixth year of operation.
CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme has published screening statistics for the programme’s sixth year of operation. Cervical cancer is a preventable disease and the aim of CervicalCheck is to detect changes in the cells of a woman’s cervix, before they become cancerous.
From 1 September 2013 to 31 August 2014, CervicalCheck provided 321,581 free smear tests to 300,546 women. The vast majority of women screened (284,764), received a normal result and will be invited for a repeat smear test in three or five years’ time, depending on their age.
During the reporting period, over 25,000 women had a low grade abnormality detected and over 5,421 women had a high grade abnormality. Fifty nine women were diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Just six years since the programme was introduced to over 1.1 million women aged 25-60, overall acceptance of invitation to screening has increased to 77 per cent. The programme has a target uptake of 80 per cent. In terms of geographical spread, five counties (Carlow, Louth, Waterford, Westmeath and Wicklow) achieved or exceeded the standard of 80 per cent coverage and 18 counties achieved higher than 70 per cent. Only three counties (Kilkenny, Laois and Roscommon) had coverage below 70 per cent.
In general, younger women are more likely to have participated in screening with just over 80 per cent of women aged 25-29 screened, compared to only 69.5 per cent of women aged 55-59. The majority of women (88.9%) had their smear test carried out in a primary care setting, with over 93 per cent of smear tests taken at a GP practice. The remainder had their smear test taken at a colposcopy service, gynaecology service or STI/GUM clinic.
Significantly, as a result of the successful introduction of HPV testing in combination with cytology to identify women at low risk of high grade abnormalities, there was a reduction in the number of follow-up visits to colposcopy services. In addition, the waiting time targets for appointments in colposcopy were exceeded for all categories of referral.