The Dublin Well Woman Centre (DWWC) is today calling on CervicalCheck to introduce HPV primary screening as soon as possible following delays in its implementation due to the current backlog of smears.
A year since it was confirmed that 206 women had developed cervical cancer after having a misdiagnosed smear test, CervicalCheck had been scheduled to move to a more targeted HPV-based analysis of smear samples this year. HPV-based typing is a more accurate method of detecting abnormal smear cytology. However, as priority is now on continuing to stabilise the cervical screening programme, there are likely to be delays.
Commenting on the matter, DWWC Chief Executive Alison Begas stated: “Firstly, it’s important to remember that while no screening programme is infallible, the purpose of Cervical Check – free regular cervical screening – is vital, and the programme has saved many lives and led to a steady reduction in the number of women who have gone on to develop Cervical Cancer.”
Medical Director, Dr Shirley McQuade added: “We would like CervicalCheck to move as quickly as possible to introducing HPV-typing. In addition to its increased accuracy, it would also have an advantage in the laboratory of being a more automated and less labour-intensive process.
“We have been highlighting the importance of HPV typing for some time and we believe that many of the outstanding issues with CervicalCheck would be addressed by moving to this method of testing. We therefore urge the HSE to make this transition as soon as is practically possible.”
“We are also calling on CervicalCheck to move forward in its plans to develop a national cervical screening laboratory at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin, so that we can all get on with a better standard of testing and service based under one roof.”
The DWWC provides CervicalCheck programme smears in its three Dublin clinics, and these are processed in Ireland in the Coombe laboratory.
“It is worth remembering that Cervical Cancer normally develops over a period of 10 – 15 years, so women who have had two or more previously ‘all clear’ smear results can be reassured that they are at very low risk. However, any woman who is due a smear test is encouraged to book an appointment as soon as possible,” concluded McQuade.