Anybody browsing the Heidelberg Leader this week may have noticed a feature piece on a certain PICCSI volunteer. The piece tells a brief version of the PICCSI story.
And whilst Nicola did start PICCSI (the Pacific Island Cervical Cancer Screening Initiative) and is to be applauded for her efforts, she is the first to point out that she didn’t, in fact, invent the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) that PICCSI utilises. That honour went to Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 for the feat!
The team at VCS Pathology is proud to be involved with the PICCSI Project. The VCS motto is “Quality and Support from Experts”. VCS is a specialist laboratory committed to providing excellence in cervical cytology, HPV testing, histopathology and Chlamydia testing.
VCS Pathology has been very generous to the PICCSI Project. VCS Pathology has not only donated their time and expertise in running all of PICCSI’s local HPV tests, they have helped with the planning of our studies and with the technical logistics of running our project in such a challenging environment.
PICCSI would particularly like to thank Marion Saville and David Hawkes from VCS for their invaluable expertise in planning our projects in the Pacific and the quality of their HPV testing at their Melbourne facility.
Alison has a public appointment at Monash Health where in addition to her clinical work she is a RANZCOG training supervisor, participates in the mentor program for medical students and has been an examiner for Monash University. Alison is the obstetric lead at Dandenong Hospital for an Australia-wide project looking to reduce severe trauma from childbirth.
Zahrah is a Obstetrics and Gynaecology resident doctor in Melbourne who is from Fiji. This year for her birthday, Zahrah has decided to fund raise for PICCSI (Pacific Island Cervical Cancer Screening Initiative).
The cost of a cervical screening test is roughly $25, so she is asking friends and family to “donate a test” in lieu of birthday gifts and dinners.
“Donate a HPV test in lieu of birthday gifts and dinners!”
A recent article published by the ABC’sOlivia Wills discusses self-collected human papilloma virus (HPV) testing. Self-collected cervical swabs are an alternative to a health professional collecting a sample for HPV testing or performing a pap smear.
HPV is the virus that causes about 99 per cent of cervical cancers. The new HPV test looks for the presence of the virus itself, rather than checking for precancerous changes in cells.
It detects potential problems earlier than a pap smear and is predicted to save more lives.
In 2018 The World Health Organisation (WHO) described cervical cancer as one of the “gravest threats to women’s health” and recognised the need for a co-ordinated global effort to eliminate the disease.
Luckily, you can help: the Pacific Island Cervical Cancer Screening Initiative (PICCSI) currently conducts both practitioner-collected and patient-collected HPV testing in the Pacific. If this proves to be acceptable, effective and safe, we could soon see self-collection HPV testing replace conventional HPV testing and pap smears for women in the Pacific.
March 8 was International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day was adopted by the United Nations in 1975 as part of International Women’s Year. Each International Women’s Day has a theme. The 2019 theme is ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’.
As part of International Women’s Day 2019, Catholic Ladies College (CLC) was kind enough to invite former CLC students Nicola Fitzgerald and Kathryn FitzGerald of the Pacific Island Cervical Cancer Screening Initiative (PICCSI) to address the student body.
PICCSI addresses the 2019 theme ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change‘:
PICCSI improves health equality for women in our Pacific region.
PICCSI utilizes smart infrastructure such as portable, instantaneous testing and on-the-spot treatment for women in remote areas.
PICCSI is testing the efficacy of self-collected samples: an innovation that may allow patients to collect their own cervical samples without compromising cancer detection.
PICCSI would like to thank CLC for inviting Nicola and Kathryn to speak at International Women’s Day 2019.