Congratulations to Ballinode ICA member Sheila McCarron Murray who came third in the national ICA Reporting competition. Sheila had to report on a recent or past significant event in or local area and she chose the Pearl of Wisdom campaign. Minister Heather Humphreys TD met representatives from Cervical Check Ireland and was alarmed to discover that figures released showed that Monaghan has one of the lowest uptakes of the free cervical screening programme in the country. To raise awareness and get the message out to the women of Monaghan that cervical screening is free, Minister Humphreys invited Monaghan women to attend a photo call to promote the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign on Saturday 27th January in the week leading up to European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. Sheila’s report was based on this event.
Her prize was presented at the national ICA AGM in Athlone recently. First prize in the competition was won by Mary Plunkett, Ballingeary Guild, Co Tipperary, and second prize was awarded to Josephine Whitmore of the Castlebridge guild in Co Wexford. Well done Sheila, lovely report!
“Pearl of Wisdom” “Share the Wisdom”
“The Pearl of Wisdom” is the European symbol of cervical cancer prevention. Since 2008, Cervical Check – The National Cervical Screening Programme has partnered with the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) on the Pearl of Wisdom campaign to promote European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week from The 28th Of January to the 3rd of February.
Recently our local Minister Heather Humphreys TD met with representatives from Cervical Check Ireland and was alarmed to discover that figures released show that Monaghan has one of the lowest uptakes of the free cervical screening programme in the country. To raise awareness and get the message out to the women of Monaghan that cervical screening is free, Minister Humphreys invited Monaghan women to attend a photo call to promote the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign on Saturday 27th January in the week leading up to European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. The event was organised by “Monaghan Womens Network” and our Federation President Lorna Soden was there representing ICA. Guilds throughout the county also joined in force and following the photo shoot all went to Dinkins coffee shop where lots of discussion on who to “Spread the Wisdom” ensued. Local GP Dr. Llona Duffy stated that approximately three hundred women are diagnosed per year in Ireland and that on average 70 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. Across Europe, 30,000 women die from cervical cancer every year. This is often due to lack of access to high-quality cervical screening programmes. It’s worthy to note that Ireland’s Cervical Check screening programme is one of the best in the world. Since the programme started, over 50,000 women have been treated for precancerous changes, reducing their risk of cervical cancer by 90%.
Cervical cancer takes a long time to develop and often has no symptoms. Through screening, we can pick up abnormalities at the pre-cancer stage, when it is easily treatable. “I would strongly urge the women of County Monaghan to take this opportunity to register or find out when their next screening is due” Stated Minister Humphreys. So, we are calling on all women aged 25 to 60 to check when their next smear test is due or arrange their first test with a doctor or nurse registered with Cervical Check if they have never done so and to share the wisdom with other women.
A group of transition year students from Kinsale Community School submitted a project on cervical screening to this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in the RDS. Aisling Hurley one of the students got the idea for the project when she saw her mother wearing the “Pearl of Wisdom” campaign pin. The students collected responses from more than 600 women in late 2017 for their project entitled “A statistical analysis of women’s knowledge of cervical screening and what influences them to attend for screening”. Their results found that while awareness of the cervical screening programme was high, one in seven of the women who responded had not had a smear test in the previous five years and the thing that most influenced the respondents to attend their free smear test was advice from their GP, postnatal advice and receiving an invitation from Cervical Check. Being aware that this was such a sensitive subject for women the students were reluctant to take it on but were delighted with the response “All girls of our age will be coming into the screening programme in a few years so it’s important for us to know it exists and how important it is” stated Aisling. “One of the key benefits of an organised screening programme” she continued “is the ability to remind women when their next smear test is due, and we were very interested in the feedback from the respondents that they would welcome the development of electronic reminders”.
It’s worth noting that any woman can check when their next smear test is due using the web-enabled checker on the Cervical Check website or by calling Cervical Check on 1800 45 45 55. Share the Wisdom.