The Irish Cancer Society has welcomed the findings of the Health Information and Quality Authority's (HIQA) assessment of cervical screening in Ireland.
HIQA advises a move to primary HPV testing to detect cervical cancer in women.
HIQA’s Health technology assessment (HTA) of human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as the primary screening method for prevention of cervical cancer found HPV testing to be more accurate in detecting precancerous abnormalities and early stage cervical cancer.
HPV testing would also reduce the number of screenings a woman would need in her lifetime, while women would experience no change in how the cervical screening sample is collected.
Commenting on the findings, which will be submitted to Ireland’s national cervical screening programme CervicalCheck and the Minister for Health for review, Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society and member of the Expert Advisory Group for this assessment Dr Robert O’Connor said: “This year in Ireland it is estimated that 90 women will die from cervical cancer.
"A further 280 will be diagnosed with this serious illness, with four in ten of them succumbing to this disease within five years. What’s more, 6,500 Irish women will need hospital treatment to remove precancerous growths in their cervix. HPV causes all of these conditions.
“Since its introduction in 2008, CervicalCheck has provided a very successful screening programme that has undoubtedly saved lives. HIQA’s latest assessment, however, shows that the service can reach an even higher world-leading standard with the introduction of primary HPV testing."