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HSE National Screening Service welcomes publication of HPV testing Health Technology Assessment - Press Release

CervicalCheck, the HSE National Cervical Screening Programme has today, Monday May 29th, welcomed the publication of the Health Technology Assessment (HTA)  on HPV testing carried out by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).  The aim of the CervicalCheck programme is to reduce the incidence of and mortality from cervical cancer of women in Ireland.

CervicalCheck is committed to a process of continuous improvement, in order to stay in line with best practice it continuously evaluates how the programme is delivered.  While regular screening is by far the best way to detect changes to the cervix early screening has limitations – some cancers are difficult to prevent.

In 2015 the HSE National Screening Service requested HIQA carry out a health technology test (HTA) on the use of tests for HPV infection as part of the CervicalCheck testing process. 

Welcoming today’s publication Dr Grainne Flannelly, Clinical Director, CervicalCheck noted: Using newer tests in a different way could help prevent more cancers and have the additional benefit of reducing unnecessary tests for most women.”

Dr Flannelly continued: “Around 277 women develop cervical cancer in Ireland each year and 88 women die from the disease. The average age of diagnosis is 46 years and the average age of death from the disease is 56 years. The rates are higher than many other European countries but in the three years to 2014 the numbers have started to drop in Ireland.”

Discussions on how and when to implement a change in the cervical screening technology will take place between the Department of Health, the HSE and the NSS over the course of the coming months.

Dr Grainne Flannelly, Clinical Director, CervicalCheck explained: “HIQA has noted that CervicalCheck, the cervical screening programme, is considered to be an effective healthcare programme, both clinically effective and cost effective. Uptake rates have been strong with 79.7% of women (aged 25-60) screened in the last five years. To date over 50,000 women have been treated for precancerous abnormalities and over 1,200 cancers have been detected.” 

“CervicalCheck needs to continuously evolve and the adoption of new tests which are more protective is really important if we are to continue to prevent as many cervical cancers as we can,” she added.


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