On 22nd January 2017, the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) and CervicalCheck, The National Cervical Screening Programme, launched the Pearl of Wisdom campaign to emphasize the importance of free regular cervical screening.
European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week takes place from 22nd-28th January. During this week, the IFPA and CervicalCheck urge women aged 25-60 to check when their next smear is due, or to book their first test with a doctor or nurse registered with CervicalCheck.
30,000 women die from cervical cancer across Europe every year, which is highly correlated to the lack of accessibility to high quality cervical screening programmes according to Dr. Philip Davies, Director General of the European Cervical Cancer Association. “Ireland’s CervicalCheck screening programme is one of the best in the world,” Dr Davies said. “It’s a hugely successful public health measure.”
Speaking at the Pearl of Wisdom campaign launch, Dr. Gráinne Flannelly, Clinical Director of CervicalCheck said, “Each year in Ireland, around 300 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer and over 90 women die from the disease. 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. Having your smear test is a quick, free and painless way to prevent the development of cervical cancer," Dr Catriona Henchion said.
"This test is so important. Tell your mother, your sister, your daughter, your colleague, your friend. It only takes five minutes, and it really could save your life," Maura Derrane, the Pearl of Wisdom campaign ambassador said.
Check when your next free smear test is due, or register for your first, here or by calling CervicalCheck Freephone 1800 45 45 55.
The Pearl of Wisdom pin is the symbol of cervical cancer prevention. During the week of the campaign, 22,000 Pearls will be distributed through health promotion networks nationwide. Pearls are also available by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55. Women are invited to support the Pearl of Wisdom campaign by posting a selfie with their Pearl on social media, using the hashtag #ShareTheWisdom.