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Published: 01 March 2024

Latest news update from the National Screening Service – February 2024

Welcome to our latest news summary featuring updates from across the National Screening Service. To keep up to date with all of our news, read our blogs and follow us on X @NSShse.

Operation Transformation highlights the importance of eye screening for people with diabetes

Diabetic RetinaScreen featured on RTÉ One’s Operation Transformation in an episode screened on 14 February.

One of this year’s Operation Transformation leaders, Noel O’Connell, was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We worked with the Operation Transformation team to arrange for Noel to go for diabetic retina screening and Noel’s screening appointment was shown as part of the programme.

Diabetic RetinaScreen Programme Manager Helen Kavanagh also appeared on the episode, and she stressed the importance of eye screening for people who have diabetes. “It’s important to continue to come for your Diabetic RetinaScreen appointments when we invite you,” she said, “regardless of how well you look after your health.”

You can watch the show back on the RTÉ Player. Thanks to the Operation Transformation team for helping us to highlight the importance of eye screening.

CervicalCheck Clinical Director appointed to European Commission initiative on cervical cancer

CervicalCheck Clinical Director Professor Nóirín Russell has been appointed to the Expert Working Group of the European Commission Initiative on Cervical Cancer (EC-CvC).

The EC-CvC’s work comprises the development of the European clinical practice guidelines and the European quality assurance scheme. By mid-2026, the Group will develop updated patient-centred, evidence-based guidelines on HPV vaccination, cervical cancer screening, and diagnosis and management of precancerous lesions. The quality assurance scheme will cover all processes of cervical cancer care, from screening to end-of-life care.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) hosted the first meeting of the Group on 5 to 6 February this year in Lyon, France.

NSS joins project team for EU-wide prostate cancer screening initiative

The NSS has joined a project team of Irish and European partners as part of an EU-wide initiative aiming to reduce the burden of illness and death from prostate cancer in men across the European Union.

PRAISE-U (PRostate cancer Awareness and Initiative for Screening in the European Union) is a three-year project co-funded by the European Union under the EU4Health programme. The goal of the project is to work towards better early detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer through carefully designed and risk-based screening programmes. Ireland’s role is to examine the feasibility of population-based screening for prostate cancer in an Irish population, using a home-based finger prick blood test.

The planned study will involve approximately 8,000 men in both urban and rural settings, in both high and low socio-economic groups, and in different populations such as migrants, homeless and marginalised groups.

NSS joins EU policy event on cervical cancer

We joined international experts and stakeholders active in the field of cancer policy and women’s health for an EU Policy event on cervical cancer at the European Parliament in Brussels in January.

Research Officer with the NSS, Dr Mairead O’Connor joined international experts and women’s health stakeholders at the event to discuss ways to increase cervical cancer screening participation among under-screened groups.

Dr O’Connor highlighted her research on the psychological impact of cervical screening, which is often overlooked. She called for more innovative approaches to screening “such as providing access outside of a clinical environment”. She said there are positive trends in cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment in Ireland, with incidence and mortality reducing year on year.

During the roundtable discussion, Dr O’Connor outlined Ireland’s roadmap to Cervical Cancer Elimination, and our collaboration with the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

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