Smear Test Scandal: 206 develop cancer after all clear

The HSE last night confirmed that over 206 women developed cancer after been given the all-clear. The National program for cervical screening CervicalCheck who are responsible for the national program, failed to notify women affected of the misdiagnosis.  Minister for Health has this evening (27 April 2018) stated that he has no confidence in the management of CervicalCheck.

Cervical Cancer High Court Case

This scandal has been unveiled due to the High Court case of Vicky Phelan. Ms Phelan, a Limerick based mother of  two, settled a high court action this week. This action was taken as a result of the delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer.  This case was taken against the US laboratory sub-contracted by CervicalCheck to assess the tests and the HSE. Ms Phelan took proceedings after it emerged that her 2011 smear test, apparently showing no abnormalities, was found to be incorrectly reported in the 2014 audit. CervicalCheck did not pass this information onto Ms Phelan. This wasted time has been fatal to Ms Phelan’s chances of recovery.

Ms Phelan stated that keeping the information from her until she was terminally ill, then dragging her through the courts is “unforgiveable” and “an appalling breach of trust”.

If her cancer had been discovered seven years ago she would have had a simple procedure with 90% chance of recovery. She likely would have survived until her 80s. “She should have another 40 years to look forward to but she has a couple of months”.

CervicalCheck Lack of Transparency 

CervicalCheck Have you concerns about your diagnosis?

Have you concerns about your cervical cancer diagnosis?

A circular from CervicalCheck in July 2016 advised consultants of the affected women to “… use their judgement in individual cases where it is clear that discussion of the outcomes of the review could do more harm than good… In cases where a woman has died, simply ensure the result is recorded in the woman’s notes”.

It appears up to another 206 women were similarly misdiagnosed. For some, a referral for colposcopy was warranted. This is a procedure which identifies changes in cells and removes them before they become cancerous. This treatment can prevent cancer developing. For others, cervical cancer should have been diagnosed at the time.

If you are concerned that you are affected by this scandal, you can speak with our Principal, Melanie Power, direct on 061- 513055. Melanie can speak with you in confidence on your concerns. Alternatively, email Melanie on  [email protected]