CERVIVA - Irish Cervical Screening Research Consortium

Research theme(s): 
Research workstream(s): 
Related staff: 
Dr Mairead O'Connor (former staff)
Dr Judith McRae (former staff)
Ms Lisa Costello (former staff)
Prof Linda Sharp (former staff)
Mr Eamonn O'Leary (former staff)
Collaborators & co-investigators: 
Dr Grainne Flannelly, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin
Dr Cara Martin, Coombe Hospital, Dublin
Prof Charles Normand, Trinity College Dublin
Prof John O’Leary, Coombe Hospital, Dublin
Ms Loretto Pilkington, Coombe Hospital, Dublin
Prof Walter Prendiville, Coombe Hospital, Adelaide & Meath Hospital and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Prof Michael Turner, Coombe Hospital, Dublin
Funding source: 
Health Research Board

Cervical cancer is the second most common female malignancy worldwide. There are approximately 200 new cases diagnosed and 70 deaths annually in Ireland. A number of factors are known to be associated with increased risk of cervical cancer including smoking and infection with human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV infection is very common in Ireland and 70-80% of women will be infected at some stage in their life. In most cases infection lasts only a few months before it is cleared by the woman’s own immune system. However the infection persists in a small percentage of women and these women are at increased risk of cervical cancer. The disease is characterised by a well-defined pre-malignancy phase making early detection possible with cytology screening methods. A national cervical screening programme, CervicalCheck, was introduced in Ireland in 2008. The introduction of screening programmes in other countries has seen a dramatic decrease in cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates in the population.

Under the auspices of the CERVIVA research consortium, researchers at the National Cancer Registry aimed to investigate attitudes and psychological impact of screening. This research comprised of several studies:

  • A postal survey of women’s attitudes towards cervical screening, HPV vaccination and HPV testing
  • Focus groups in women to assess women’s attitudes, knowledge and practices with regard to cervical screening, HPV testing and vaccination
  • In-depth, face-to-face, interviews with women who had an HPV DNA test performed at a colposcopy clinic in order to understand the psychological impact of HPV testing on women
  • A longitudinal survey of the psychological impact of colposcopy and related interventions on women over a 12 month follow-up period
  • A postal survey amongst general practitioners (GPs) to provide evidence-based information to support education programmes that increase awareness among GPs of screening, HPV infection and HPV vaccination

The ultimate aim of this research is to improve cervical screening experiences for women.

The results from these studies have being disseminated at both national and international research conferences. Some findings have also been published in scientific journals. Other findings are in the process of being written up for publication.

Related news: Related papers: Related presentations: 

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