CervicalCheck screening programme

Thousands of lives have been saved

Sir, – This week saw the publication of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report on recommendations of best practices in cervical screening programmes.

The report, excellent in content and precise in its commentary, includes the statement that Ireland’s cervical screening service has consistently met the highest international performance standards.

I highlight this in response to Brianna Parkins writing in The Irish Times (“Misogyny in Ireland is quiet. But it’s there”, Magazine, July 1st) referencing in her article of “when women were given inaccurate results from the CervicalCheck screening programme , possibly delaying life-saving treatment”.

With respect to the CervicalCheck retrospective audit of cervical cancer, no diagnosis was withheld nor was any treatment delayed or denied.


These are published and proven facts.

Every population cancer screening programme in the world will both undercall and overcall abnormalities.

No other country in the world describes these as inaccurate results; 100 per cent accuracy is impossible and always will be.

The questions for Ireland to ask are firstly whether CervicalCheck is operating to international best practice – it is – and, secondly, is it reducing deaths from cervical cancer in women in Ireland – it is and has consistently done so since the programme launched in 2008. Thousands of lives have been saved. – Yours, etc,




National Screening Service.