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National Cancer Screening Service / Free Screening Programmes

Cancer is one of the main causes of death in Ireland. If you have any concerns regarding cancer or have a family history of cancer or have symptoms that you are worried about, you should contact your family doctor (GP).

Screening means checking your body for cancer before you have symptoms and the National Cancer Screening Service provides the following population based cancer screening programmes:

BreastCheck, the National Breast Screening Programme
CervicalCheck, the National Cervical Screening Programme
BowelScreen, the National Bowel Screening Programme
What’s the Aim of Screening Programmes?
These programmes aim to reduce morbidity and mortality in the population through early detection of disease and treatment, both of which greatly improve health outcomes.

A screening test is designed for populations of individuals who do not have any symptoms of disease. It aims to identify those with a risk marker for a disease and ensure early treatment. A screening test is not a diagnostic test, which is designed for individuals with symptoms of a disease or for those identified with a risk marker to assess whether they have it or to follow its progress.

How to I Access a Screening Programme?
Screening programmes internationally and in Ireland are based on a call /re-call system, where eligible populations are invited to take part and clinical services are provided for the further investigation and treatment of people identified as at risk of having or developing a disease.

BreastCheck
BreastCheck is the national breast screening programme. The aim of the programme is to find breast cancer early and to provide treatment of breast cancer in women who show no symptoms of the disease. Breast screening does not find all breast cancer. But screening has been proven to lower the number of women dying from breast cancer. The programme offers all women between the ages of 50 and 69 a mammogram (an x-ray of the breast) free of charge every 2 years.

BreastCheck compile and maintain a register of women eligible for screening. Your details should automatically be on the register. Contact BreastCheck on freephone 1800 45 45 55 for further information.

CervicalCheck
CervicalCheck is a national screening programme to prevent cervical cancer. The programme provides free cervical screening tests to people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 65. A HPV cervical screening test is a simple procedure that only takes minutes. It is the most effective way to detect HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and changes in the cells of the cervix.
If you have any questions or concerns about the screening programme, contact CervicalCheck on Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

If you have any concerns about cervical cancer, have a family history of cervical cancer or have symptoms of cervical cancer, you should contact your family doctor (GP). CervicalCheck will send invitation letters to anyone on the CervicalCheck register who is aged between 25 and 65.
You should already be on the register if you:
Are between 25 and 65 and have a PPS number or
Have previously had a test through CervicalCheck
When you receive your invitation letter, you should contact a registered GP or nurse to make an appointment.

BowelScreen
BowelScreen is the National Bowel Screening Programme which offers free bowel screening to people aged 60 to 69 every 2 years. Bowel screening aims to detect signs of bowel cancer at an early stage, where there are no symptoms. The test is free and is done by you at home.
You need to be on the bowel screening register to be sent an invitation to receive a home screening test kit.
BowelScreen puts together a register of people eligible for screening from details supplied by the Department of Social Protection, General Medical Services and private health insurance providers. However, some people are not included on any of these lists so if you haven’t received an invitation for bowel screening, you can check if you are on the register online or by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

Contact your GP if you have any symptoms of bowel cancer. Never ignore symptoms, even if you have had a recent normal screening result.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]

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Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.

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Olga Tkachenko: My resilience in life is the ability to see only the good

Olga Tkachenko and I run five kilometres every Saturday with the Killarney House Parkrun. This fragile and smiling woman always runs easily and beats me every time. It seems that […]

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Olga Tkachenko and I run five kilometres every Saturday with the Killarney House Parkrun.

This fragile and smiling woman always runs easily and beats me every time.

It seems that everything in her life is as easy as jogging.

But this is not quite so.

Olga grew up in Donetsk city, Donbass region. Her sister Maryna and parents lived here. A large and friendly family, they owed a holiday home in the region and would gather there for vacations and holidays. This house was a symbol of this family.

In 2014, Russian troops entered Donetsk and drove their military equipment right into the yard of the house.

From here they started shelling the Donetsk airport.

Soon the house was completely destroyed. All that remains of the house are two walls and a few pots. The family nest was devastated. Her sister Maryna tried to save the surviving property and came under fire. Fortunately, she was not injured.

Olga moved her parents to another place, and she went to Kyiv with her husband and children. All they took with them were two laptops and a few warm things. Life had to start from scratch.

Olga’s sister Maryna moved to Dnipro city, where she found a new job.

The sisters went their separate ways, but still maintained a very close relationship, calling and supporting each other every day.

Maryna’s husband and Olga’s husband are brothers and share the same last name – Tkachenko.

They have children two months apart. Olga jokes that she and her sister have a topic to talk about – their common father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Having lost their homes in 2014 due to Russia’s military aggression in Donbas, the sisters built their lives in two different cities – Irpen (near Kyiv) and Dnipro. But when the war broke out in 2022, they found themselves together again.

The sisters managed to board an evacuation train bound for Poland. Again, they only had one bag each and a one-way ticket.

“Fear drove us as far as possible. The main goal was to save the children. We did not know where we were going. We wanted to escape as far as possible from the war and the borders of Russia,” says Olga.

After staying in a refugee camp in Poland for several days, they decided to go to Ireland.
Were they worried about going into the unknown?

But Olga says that when she is together with her sister, it gives both women confidence and stability. Together, it’s not so scary anymore.

Olga says that it is impossible to get used to the fact that you lose your home every time and get used to life. It is impossible to accept that everything has to be started from new.

But she has one secret of resilience – the ability to see the good in the circumstances in which you find yourself.

Here in Killarney Olga focuses on the beautiful nature, she learns a new language, and goes jogging. She never regrets.

Olga’s sister Maryna Tkachenko has already found a job and works in as a designer in Killarney. The sisters help each other a lot and are very worried about their parents and grandmother, who remaine in Ukraine.

“Our parents spent a month under the occupation of Russian troops in a village near Kyiv. My 70-year-old mother, as in 2014, went to negotiate with Russian soldiers and persuaded them not to shoot. We are glad that our parents’ house survived this time. Because in 2014 we already lost one home. Our parents would not have survived this a second time,” adds Olga.

That is why she will soon go back to Ukraine.

She explains her motives: “I want to be where I am most needed. My eldest daughter, parents and grandmother are in Ukraine. My daughter works as a volunteer every week, clearing the rubble of buildings, so I want to help my country as well. After dismantling the ruins, we will see our beautiful country again.”

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