Your Health

In association with Sligo Today

Sligo locals encouraged to mark Coeliac Awareness Week

Added: 27/04/17 : 05:47:06

Coeliac Awareness Week, an annual campaign organised by the Coeliac Society of Ireland in partnership with SuperValu will take place this year from 8th to 15th May.

The theme of this year’s Awareness Week is ‘The Faces of Coeliac Disease’. Throughout the week, the Coeliac Society will be highlighting the fact that coeliac disease can occur at any stage in life, and is a life-long condition. Coeliac disease affects an estimated one in every 100 people in Ireland. A series of events taking place around Ireland to mark Coeliac Awareness Week include:

  • The launch of an online self-assessment tool to help people to determine if they could be coeliac
  • Working with General Practitioners and Pharmacists to raise awareness of the symptoms of coeliac disease.
  • A series of in-store events at SuperValu stores
  • The launch of a new initiative calling on supermarkets to commit to stocking eight gluten free staples in store.  SuperValu is the first to sign up to the initiative, and the Coeliac Society of Ireland will be calling on other supermarkets nationwide to join them.

Commenting in advance of Coeliac Awareness Week, Fergal O’Sullivan, CEO of the Coeliac Society, said: “We are delighted to partner with SuperValu on this series of events. At least 1 in 100 people in Ireland in Ireland has coeliac disease and it can be challenging for them to figure out what they can eat, as gluten is a common ingredient in food.  I would encourage anyone who wants to find out more about coeliac disease or following a gluten free diet to attend an event in their local SuperValu store. We are here to help.

“The Coeliac Society of Ireland provides up-to-date support and information for those suffering from coeliac disease, as well as for their families. This includes an invaluable Food List, available to members, which references over 6,400 gluten-free products available on the Irish market. Members also receive monthly updates on new products.”

He added: “Coeliac disease is something that can affect anyone at any stage of their life, and once you are diagnosed as coeliac, it’s a life-long condition. The only treatment is to follow a gluten-free diet, and this Coeliac Awareness Week, we’re hoping to raise awareness that those living with coeliac disease do not have to live a restrictive lifestyle. We’re encouraging anyone in Sligo who may have coeliac disease, or a gluten intolerance, to get in touch with us to find out more about coeliac disease. It’s now easy to follow a gluten-free diet while still enjoying tasty and healthy meals and live life to the full. After all, it’s not about what you can’t eat, it’s about what you can still eat.”

For the full programme of events for Coeliac Awareness Week 2017, visit: and
BowelScreen Publishes Report from First Screening Round 2012 – 2015

Added: 27/04/17 : 06:03:40

The National Bowel Screening Programme released its inaugural programme report, providing screening statistics for the first screening round of the programme’s operation (2012 – 2015). The release of the report coincides with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout April.

Launched by Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, TD, Minister of State for Health Promotion, the report highlights that BowelScreen invited 488,628 eligible people to participate in the programme with a total of 196,238 people screened and 521 cancers detected. This resulted in a screening uptake rate of 40.2% and a cancer detection rate of 2.65 per 1,000 people screened.

Commenting on the first screening round of BowelScreen, Charles O’Hanlon, Head of Screening at the National Screening Service, said: “During the first screening round, 521 cancers were detected, three out of four cases at an early stage with a corresponding high survival rate. Almost 13,000 adenomas were also removed during the first screening round. Adenomas are abnormal tissue growths that can become cancerous at a later stage. The removal of adenomas greatly reduces the possibility of subsequent cancer development, making BowelScreen a truly lifesaving programme.”

“While there have been challenges in establishing a new population screening programme, this report demonstrates that BowelScreen is detecting and treating bowel cancers and pre-cancerous changes at an early stage. BowelScreen is saving lives. There is more we can do to learn and improve uptake rates as we move forward; however it is important to acknowledge the successes of the programme to date.”

Despite BowelScreen’s success at detecting cancer at an early stage, the report reveals a low uptake of screening with just 40 per cent of eligible men and women participating in the programme. The uptake for women was higher than men (44.1 per cent compared to 36.4 per cent) yet the cancer detection rate among men was double that of women.

Launching the report, Minister Corcoran Kennedy, said: “The first round of BowelScreen has clearly had a positive impact on the health of many of our people. At the same time, we must redouble our efforts to increase uptake rates for this free service, especially among males who have lower rates of participation but much higher rates of disease detection under BowelScreen. In that regard, I am delighted to see that the National Screening Service is working with a number of organisations to combat the lower uptake amongst men in particular.”

Professor Diarmuid O’Donoghue, Clinical Director of BowelScreen, said: “Low uptake of screening is worrying given bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in this country. We are particularly concerned about men, given that the cancer detection rate among males is twice as high as it is for females. It is so important that the men of Ireland take control of their health and do the test. It is a very quick, easy-to-use test that can be carried out in the privacy of your own home. It takes just minutes and most results are normal.”

Professor O’Donoghue continued: “Going forward, BowelScreen is committed to making continual improvements in the quality of the programme and in increasing uptake. Although, there remain a number of years before the programme is fully embedded and delivering to its maximum potential, it is clear from the results above that a strong foundation has been created, upon which to build further success.”

Sixty five year old, Christopher Fennell from Clondalkin, took the  BowelScreen home test last year. He is enjoying living life to the full after the removal of many precancerous adenomas.

Mr Fennell said: “I did the at home test when it came in the post and after that, I got a letter telling me I needed to get a colonoscopy. I had to have it done twice as there were so many pre cancers. If I hadn’t done the free test, who knows what might have happened. I would encourage anyone who is invited to do the test.”

Anyone aged 60 to 69 can register for BowelScreen online at or by calling the Freephone number 1800 45 45 55.

Brief overview of performance, from 22 October 2012 to 31 December 2015 (first screening round):

·        BowelScreen invited 488,628 people for screening
·        196,238 people took up the invitation, resulting in a screening uptake rate of 40.2%
·        Uptake of screening for females was higher than in males (44.1 per cent compared to 36.4
         per cent)
·        8,062 people attended for a colonoscopy
·        521 cancers were detected, giving an overall cancer detection rate of 2.65 per 1,000
         people screened
·        There were 355 colon cancers, 159 rectal cancers and seven cases of cancer where the
         site was unconfirmed
·        Over 71 per cent of all cancers detected were stage I or II, meaning that disease was
         detected at an early stage and therefore, easier to treat
·        In addition, approximately 13,000 pre-cancerous adenomas were removed.

The BowelScreen Programme Report is available to view or download HERE