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Cervical cancer dangers highlighted as awareness week begins

Fine Gael’s Seanad health spokesperson has urged women to book a smear test for the condition, which kills 90 people in Ireland every year.
Jan 23rd 2012, 7:15 AM 1,991 3

CERVICAL CANCER KILLS 90 women in Ireland every year, Fine Gael’s Seanad health spokesperson has warned as an awareness week begins.

Women are being urged to use European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week to book a smear test for the condition, 300 new cases of which are diagnosed every 12 months.

Senator Colm Burke  said the condition is the second most common cancer among women aged between 15 and 44. He called for better education in schools on cervical cancer, saying:

Since young teenagers are categorised in the high risk group, it is vital that they are educated and that information is provided to young girls in secondary schools.

Events planned by the Irish Family Planning Association and its partners for this week will particularly target under-privileged and hard-to-reach social groups, who may  not have such good access to health information.

Female politicians will also be called upon to help the awareness effort, with every representative sent a ‘Pearl of Wisdom’ brooch and information on the condition.

The ultimate aim is to increase cervical screening rates to 80 per cent across Ireland. IFPA Medical Director Dr Caitriona Henchion said: “One of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer is not having had a smear test. Cervical cancer takes a long time to develop and often has no symptoms until an advanced stage.”

More: High take up of HPV vaccine by school girls>

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Michael Freeman

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