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cervical cancer

Doctors have stated that the lack of consultants in Irish hospitals is having a "serious effect" on Irish women's healthcare.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) have released figures showing 28,417 women are currently waiting to see a gynaecologist in Ireland.

5,394 women are waiting over 12 months, and there has been a 40 percent increase since 2014 in the number of women waiting to see a consultant gynaecologist nationally.

Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan has stated to the Irish Mirror that the problem could be seriously detrimental to Irish women's health.

"Unfilled specialist posts are making it difficult for women to be seen in a timely fashion," he said.

"Our waiting lists for outpatients are among the worst in the world… and that's having a really serious effect on women's health and well-being." 

3,469 women are waiting for the Rotunda Hospital to offer them an appointment with a gynaecologist. 3,148 women are waiting in Tallaght Hospital, and 2,099 are waiting for the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

Galway University Hospital has 1,898 women waiting, with 1,783 in Letterkenny General Hospital, 1,522 in Portlaoise Hospital and 1,468 in Limerick University Hospital.

The consultant recruitment and retention crisis is a big factor in rising numbers of Irish women now waiting, according to the IHCA.

One-in-five or over 500 of all permanent consultant posts nationally are now empty or only temporarily filled, leading to long periods of wait times to access essential healthcare services.

The IHCA claim that the Government's consistent support for a "failed policy" is resulting in "the unique and extremely damaging" salary cut which consultants appointed since 2012 have been served.

New consultants are being paid up to 51 percent less than their colleagues, despite having some of the same job responsibilities.

Pay parity needs to be restored for new consultants, rather than driving them abroad to countries like Australia who will pay them accordingly.

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A brand new campaign in England has been launched in order for beauty salons to encourage cervical cancer screenings.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust released a worrying survey in January revealing that many young women are put off from having smear tests.

According to the charity, eight out of 10 women surveyed stated that they delayed or failed to attend a cervical cancer screening out of embarrassment.

Online beauty marketplace Treatwell has claimed that cervical screening attendance is at a 20-year low, but the number of women choosing to have intimate waxing treatments is on the rise,

To combat the declining amount of women having smear tests, Treatwell has teamed up with Public Health England (PHE) to launch the "Life Saving Wax" initiative.

Over 500 Treatwell partner salons across England will place posters and information about cervical screenings in their salons today.

Beauty therapists are also being supported in their goal to talk to customers about cervical screenings and provide advice on where they can discover the right information.

A study carried out by Treatwell of 1,006 women aged between 25 and 34 revealed that almost half (47 percent) of participants said that they feel comfortable speaking with beauty therapists about personal topics.

Three quarters of the people interviewed stated that they would listen to their beauty therapist's advice.

The director of Screening Programmes at PHE, Professor Anne Mackie, says that the organisation is "thrilled" to be partnering with Treatwell on the campaign.

"Two lives are lost every day to cervical cancer but this needn’t be the case. Cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts as the test identifies potentially harmful cells before they become cancerous and ensures women get the right treatment as soon as possible," Professor Mackie states.

"The decline in numbers getting screened, particularly those aged between 25 – 34, is a major concern as it means millions of women are missing out on a potentially life-saving test."

Beauty director at Treatwell, Liz Hambleton, explains that beauticians are "uniquely placed" to discuss personal topics with customers;

"We see thousands of women booking intimate waxes everyday through Treatwell, so when we heard that women aren’t attending a potentially life-saving test due to embarrassment, we wanted to see how we could change this," Hambleton states.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"Just one conversation is all it could take to remind or encourage someone to go for their screening when invited."

Each year in England between 2016 to 2016, about 2,600 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than a quarter of those diagnosed died from the illness.

A study published in the British Journal of Cancer claims that if everyone who was invited for a smear test went to their appointment regularly, an incredible 83 percent of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.

However, more than one in four women who are invited for a smear test don't have the procedure, says Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

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In an incredible breakthrough for cancer research, a female scientist from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) has reportedly found a complete cure for human papillomavirus (HPV).

The apparent cure would help to prevent the spread of cervical cancer among women. Dr Eva Ramon Gallegos, a Mexican scientist, claims to have eliminated the virus in 29 patients infected with HPV.

The report states that a team of researchers, led by Dr. Gallegos, treated the 29 women with non-invasive photodynamic therapy (PDT), which involves using a drug called a photosensitizer and a particular type of light to treat different areas of the body.

Dr. Gallegos had been studying the effects of photodynamic therapy for an amazing 20 YEARS to help tackle tumours such as breast and melanoma cancer, and specialised in the study of photodynamic therapy.

She treated 420 patients in Oaxaca and Veracruz, as well as 29 women in Mexico, with the technique. The repercussions from the treatment were promising; photodynamic therapy was able to eradicate the virus in all patients.

The virus was eradicated in 100 percent of those tested who carried HPV without premalignant lesions of cervical cancer using photodynamic therapy. The treatment was 64.3 percent successful in women with both HPV and lesions.

The therapy has no side effects, which is amazing as it doesn't do any damage at all to the body to have the treatment.

Dr. Gallegos said; “Unlike other treatments, it only eliminates damaged cells and does not affect healthy structures. Therefore, it has great potential to decrease the death rate from cervical cancer,” Radio Guama report.

HPV is a widespread virus from all over the world, with more than 100 variants. 14 of these variants can cause cervical cancer, a disease which is fast becoming a leading cause for death among female cancer patients.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Feature image: National Polytechnic Institute

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Emma Mhic Mhathúna’s funeral mass took place at Séipéal na Carraige, Baile na nGall yesterday. The family of the late mum honoured her following the service in the most emotional tribute.

Emma’s uncle John Moran delivered a moving speech outside the Kerry church. He spoke on behalf of Emma’s family to the media.

“The people of Ireland have really taken Emma into their hearts and all we want to say is thank you.”

“We loved her. We will miss her,” he continued.

“She was 37. She was the mother of five children. She did everything right.”

John stressed that Emma will forever be remembered in the most positive way. There’s no doubt the country will ever forget her witty sense of humour, her kind heart and passionate nature.

“As a family, we will remember her in the most fond, fond way,” he said.

He vowed to always look after Emma’s five children: “Our job from today is to make sure her five fantastic children are respected and grow to be lovely young adults.”

“The was a fantastic mother. She was a fantastic friend,” the grief-stricken uncle said.

“Today is a very sad day for us. Today is a day for celebration. We say goodbye to Emma and we say thank you to you,” he concluded.

The untimely passing of Emma has broken the hearts of the nation.

Photo: Dan Linehan

The mum is survived by her five children Natasha, Seamus, Mario, Oisin and Donnacha and her dad Peter.

Donations in lieu to Brother Kevin Crowley, Capuchin Day Centre, Bow Street, Dublin.

The family have asked the public to respect their privacy during this harrowing time.

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Emma Mhic Mhathúna has taken her final journey as her funeral took place in Kerry today.

The mum-of-five asked for her mass at Séipéal na Carraige, Baile na nGall to be given in Irish. It is understood the mum was deeply passionate about the native language.

Following today’s service, Emma’s remains will be removed to St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, where a mass will take place on the morning of Wednesday, October 10.

The mum will then be laid to rest in Maynooth, Co Kildare.

 

Video journalist Seán an tSíthigh posted a poignant photo of the mum’s coffin on Twitter captioned: “Emma Mhic Mhathúna, 37-year-old mother of five, begins her final journey & leaves the small fishing village of Baile na nGall.”

The untimely passing of the mum-of-five has broken the hearts of the nation, especially after how hard Emma fought for the women affected by the Cervical Check scandal.

Photo: Dan Linehan

Emma was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 after two smear tests showed incorrect results. The mum believed she would have beat the disease if she was diagnosed on time.

She was given a terminal diagnosis this May.

 

Her family thanked the public for the waves of support since news of Emma’s death broke on Sunday afternoon.

There’s no doubt Emma’s tireless campaigning and determined spirit will forever be remembered. Her family said they are grateful for the legacy she left behind.

“We take some comfort in the knowledge that Emma will be long remembered by the thousands of people who have been inspired by her fight for justice, transparency and improved services."

Emma was a true warrior. Our thoughts are with her children, family and friends during this harrowing time.

 

Feature Image: Seán Mac an tSíthigh

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The passing of Emma Mhic Mhatúna has been felt around the entire country since news of her death broke yesterday afternoon.

The untimely passing of the mum-of-five has broken the hearts of the nation, especially after how hard Emma fought for the women affected by the Cervical Check scandal.

Emma was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 after two smear tests showed incorrect results.

Fellow campaigner Vicky Phelan has paid tribute to Emma in a touching series of tweets.

“May you rest in peace now Emma. My thoughts are with your children who should not have to be facing into a future without you Xxx,” she wrote.

Vicky explained that she needed to take some time away from social media as tributes poured in for the 37-year-old.

She revealed that another woman affected by the Cervical Check scandal had passed away this weekend.

“Julie, who wished to remain anonymous, passed away in Dublin on Saturday morning and Emma passed away this morning.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Vicky extended her thoughts to Emma’s family, especially her five children who have been left without a mum.

“As I sit here in the quiet with only my thoughts and my husband and two children tucked up in bed, I am so very grateful to be alive and well. Yet, my heart breaks for two more families devastated by cervical cancer,” she wrote.

 

There’s no doubt Emma’s tireless campaigning and determined spirit will forever be remembered. Her family said they are grateful for the legacy she left behind.

“We take some comfort in the knowledge that Emma will be long remembered by the thousands of people who have been inspired by her fight for justice, transparency and improved services."  

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Emma Mhic Mhathúna has sadly passed away at the age of 37.

The mum-of-five died at University Hospital Kerry earlier this morning.

In 2016, Emma was diagnosed with cervical cancer after two previous smear tests showed incorrect results.

Emma settled her case against the HSE and the US laboratory, Quest Diagnostics in May 2018. She was awarded €7.5m.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tributes have been pouring in for the inspiring mum who tirelessly campaigned for the women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy.

She will forever be remembered for how hard she fought for justice following the CervicalCheck scandal.

Our thoughts are with Emma’s children, her family and her friends during this heartbreaking time.

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In a long-awaited report into the Cervical Check scandal, health expert Dr Gabriel Scally has commented on the state of the national cervical cancer screening service.

The author of the new report into the CervicalCheck debacle described it as so poorly run it was “doomed to fail” and said some of the treatment of women “bordered on misogynism,” according to the report.

The past number of months have been a time of great distress and pain for the 221 women who developed cervical cancer and the families of 18 women who have died – as a result of the failings of those involved in the programme. The scandal emerged after it was revealed that over 200 women had their cervical smear results audited by Cervical Check – but were never told of the discrepancies in these results.

“A whole-system failure” meant women were not told about an audit showing problems with past smear tests until after they were diagnosed with cancer. As a result, this meant they potentially missed out on earlier interventions.

Some women, such as Vicky Phelan, waited years to be told she had been misdiagnosed years earlier. She is now battling terminal cancer. 

The report also found that the suffering of the women and their families was "aggravated by some doctors."  

"The anger of many woman and families about how they have been treated in respect of disclosure is intense and raw,” Scally wrote. He used words such as inappropriate, unsatisfactory, damaging, hurtful and offensive to describe the manner in which some women were told about their results. 

He did say, however, that the continuation of cervical screening in the coming months was of crucial importance. “My scoping inquiry team has found no reason why the existing contracts for laboratory services should not continue until the new HPV regime is introduced.”He also added that he is satisfied with the quality management processes in the current laboratory sites used as part of the screening service.

Responding to the report, the HSE said they would respond to the report and those affected once they had time to "read and review it with care."

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The HSE has revealed that 221 women have been affected by the cervical screening scandal. They shared that the figure jumped from 209 to 221 after an additional 12 cases were confirmed.

HSE Director General John Conaghan shared the new figure with the Public Accounts Committee this morning.

It was also revealed that a review of the affected women’s smear tests has not yet started. The review of over 3,000 smear tests was meant to be completed by May.

The review will be carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians as well as the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.
It was also shared that nearly 40 women have taken a cases against the HSE. Only three cases have been settled so far.

There are currently 35 active cases against the HSE.

Terminally-ill Emma Mhic Mhathúna recently settled her case against the HSE and a lab in the US. The mum-of-five’s case was settled for €7.5 million.

Mum-of-two Vicky Phelan also settled her case for €2.5 million.

Both mums were given incorrect smear test results, delaying their cervical cancer diagnosis.

The Cervical Check controversy has affected thousands of women in Ireland. They were not informed about a clinical audit that was carried out on their results.

It is believed that some of the woman affected by the scandal could have benefited from an early diagnosis.

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It is understood that an additional 1,500 women are at risk of being affected by the Cervical Check controversy.

The HSE has shared that the National Cancer Registry registered 3,000 cervical cancer cases in the past ten years, however, only 1,482 of these cases were analysed by the CervicalCheck screening programme.

This means that this group of women may have to have their smear tests audited.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris confirmed that the women were not included in the audit, “Whilst I had previously been advised, and it had been commonly understood that CervicalCheck clinical audit covered all cases notified to the National Cancer Registry, I have been informed this afternoon that this is not the case.”

“I have been informed that a potentially significant number of cases will not have been subjected to an audit of their screening history,” he added.

He stressed that the group who weren’t included in the review had already been diagnosed with cancer, “These are women who have already been diagnosed with cervical cancer and treated as such, but their cases have not been included in a clinical audit."

Simon Harris confirmed that audits will be carried out in the additional cases.

If you have had a smear test and would like a recheck for reassurance, you can arrange it with your GP and have it paid for by CervicalCheck.

Every woman is entitled to the service and the CervicalCheck helpline number is 1800 454555. The line will open between 9 am and 6 pm.

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The brother of a young woman who battled cervical cancer before passing away at the age of 25 insists that change is needed in order to protect young women against the disease.

Amber Rose Cliff was just 18 when she began exhibiting worrying symptoms, and despite requesting numerous screenings, Amber from Sunderland was refused one.

As NHS guidelines stipulate women should be 25 before availing of their screening service, Amber, then 21, sought help privately and was dealt a devastating blow when she learned she had a tumour growing in her cervix.

"We went for a private smear test when she was about 21, three years after she’d first been to the doctors," Josh explained.

"It turned out that the cancerous tumour in her cervix had been growing for years."

Amber underwent multiple operations in addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but was dealt another devastating blow when she learned that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, lungs and throat.

And last Sunday, at the age of 25, Amber died.

Determined to initiate change, Josh is appealing to the public to sign an online petition which would allow any woman, who is under the age of 25 and experiencing symptoms, to avail of a screening.

"It shouldn’t be mandatory but that option needs to be there," Josh insisted. 

Dr Jana Witt, health information officer at Cancer Research UK has, however, expressed reservations about Josh's campaign.

"This is because cervical changes that screening detects in younger women tend to clear up by themselves and are less likely to develop into cancer, so screening may lead to unnecessary tests and treatment."

Dr Witt does, however, encourage young women to seek medical attention if certain symptoms present.

"Whatever your age or screening history, if you notice symptoms such as bleeding between periods, after sex, after the menopause, or any other unusual changes, it’s really important to contact your GP."

20,000 people have, thus far, signed an online petition to bring Amber's Law into effect, and Amber's family is currently fundraising in memory of their sister, daughter and friend.

 

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Next month will mark seven years since TV personality Jade Goody tragically died from cervical cancer, and today her husband Jack Tweed shared a heartbreaking tribute.

The couple married on February 22, 2009, exactly a month before Jade's death. On the day they married, Jade sadly discovered that her cancer had spread and become terminal.

"Married this angel seven years ago today," Jack reminisced on Instagram next to a snap of himself and Jade, who had lost her hair from chemo by that stage.

The pair began dating in 2006 when Jack was just 19, and he spent various spells in prison during their three year relationship.

Prior to meeting Jack, Jade dated fellow TV personality Jeff Brazier, with whom she had two sons, Bobby, now 12, and Freddie, now 11.

Jeff, now a life coach, spoke last year about how has tried to keep the boys' mum's memory alive – but admitted it hasn't always been easy.

"On the 15th of each month that's 'mummy day'. We can talk about her obviously at any time and we do, but the 15th of the month means we are particularly focused on it.

"It's hurting them more not to talk about it than it is to actually put it down on paper and do something with it."

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