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96% drop in samples sent to CervicalCheck labs in April

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Cancer screening services must be prioritised once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Cathal Crowe (FF) has said.

Figures released on Monday revealed that no mammograms were carried out during the month of April while a 96% reduction was noted in the number of samples sent to CervicalCheck lads for the same period.

Such developments were described as very worrying by the Clare TD. “These screening programmes save lives and must not fall by the wayside during this pandemic. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our health system and has seen new restrictions imposed on certain services. I understand these measures have been brought in to protect patients, but the figures relating to cancer screening services are very worrying.

“If this situation was to be repeated this month, we will end up with a massive backlog in the system and we could see potential early diagnoses delayed. This could have serious implications for patients”.

Crowe called on Minister for Health, Simon Harris (FG) and the HSE to put in place a “rigorous catch up programme for Breast Check, CervicalCheck and other similar screening services” once restrictions are relaxed.

He added, “These screening programmes are essential in the battle against cancer. Here in Clare, we are so proud of the work of cervical cancer campaigner Laura Brennan and her family in raising awareness of the importance of these screening programmes. It is vital that these programmes can get back up and running as soon as possible”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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