The Health Service Executive has published three reports on interval cancers and the BreastCheck, CervicalCheck and BowelScreen programmes.

All patients with interval cancers, which are cancers diagnosed between routine screening programmes, are to be offered a review.

The HSE said that interval cancers are an inevitable consequence of all screening programmes.

In the case of cervical cancer, today's report recommends that CervicalCheck plans and implements patient-requested reviews for all patients diagnosed with invasive cervical cancers who consent to participate.

It will mean these reviews being offered for the first time.

The annual interval cancer rate for cervical cancer will also be developed.

The HSE said the development of the interval cervical cancer reviews will take time to put in place.

The CervicalCheck programme also said it is to contact any affected patients whose reviews were paused.

Interval cancer reviews for patients already occur with BreastCheck and BowelScreen but they will be done in a more systematic way in the future.

With breast screening, the interval cancer rate is two cases for every 1,000 women screened.

In Ireland, around 340 interval breast cancers are detected each year.

The HSE report says that most programmes around the world do not disclose the findings of interval cancer audits to patients.

The BreastCheck report found that the screening programme operates to the highest international standards.

Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer here.

Cervical cancer is the eighth most common cancer.

With bowel cancer, an interval cancer, it is one that occurs within three years of a colonoscopy.

For BowelScreen, the service will also plan and provide patient-requested reviews for all invasive cervical cancers.

It will also establish the interval cancer rate.

Cervical screening invitations to continue

The Chief Executive of the National Screening Service has said that invitations for cervical screening will continue.

Fiona Murphy said in a post on social media that the service will be trying its best not to pause screening again.

Ms Murphy said that if people get an invitation, they should make an appointment.

Earlier this year, screening was paused for several months due to Covid-19.