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Quest Diagnostics to Provide Diagnostic Testing Services for the Women of Ireland through Ireland's First Nationwide Cervical-Cancer Screening Program

MADISON, N.J., June 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Women in Ireland will soon be able to take advantage of diagnostic testing services provided by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the world's leader in cervical-cancer screening services. Through a contract with the Irish National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS), Quest Diagnostics will provide quality-assured screening services intended to improve medical outcomes and reduce anxiety wait time for women ages 25 to 60 who participate in Ireland's first nationwide cytology-screening program.

"Cervical cancer is a terrible disease that often strikes when a woman is in the prime of her life," said Ronald Kennedy, M.D., Corporate Medical Director, Quality Assurance in Anatomic Pathology, Quest Diagnostics. "Our goal for this historic cytology-screening program is to ensure that Irish women experience the highest quality of testing and service excellence, with the goal of minimizing the incidence of cervical cancer. Our commitment to women's health, along with our industry leading quality-assurance practices, makes us imminently qualified to deliver the superior testing services that Irish women deserve."

Quest Diagnostics' relationship with the medical community of Ireland began in 2006, when the Health Service Executive (HSE), the national health administrator for Ireland, engaged the services of Quest Diagnostics to help reduce a critical backlog of Pap-based cervical-cancer screening tests, also known as "Pap smears," that required screening. Since early 2007, Quest Diagnostics has performed approximately 50,000 Pap smears in connection with this continuing project, helping to improve the delivery of timely results.

Under the cytology-screening program, Quest Diagnostics will perform testing on approximately 300,000 Pap smears annually at two accredited, full-service laboratories in the U.S. The company operates approximately 30 accredited full-service laboratories in the U.S. that could provide backup capabilities if required. In addition, Quest Diagnostics will provide general practitioners and consultant colposcopists in Ireland with a toll-free phone number to consult with Quest Diagnostics' medical experts about a patient's test results.

"We applaud the NCSS for its commitment to developing a nationwide program designed to improve the health of women through regular cervical-cancer screening," said Kenneth R. Finnegan, Vice President, International, Quest Diagnostics. "We look forward to working with the NCSS and the entire medical community of Ireland to deliver world-class diagnostic services that enhance the health of Irish women."

Quest Diagnostics is a leading provider of cervical-cancer diagnostic-testing services, performing approximately 13 million Pap smears in 2007. Through the cytology-screening program, women in Ireland will benefit from services provided by a company that has adopted rigorous standards and training programs for cytotechnologists and pathologists who screen and review Pap smears. Quest Diagnostics requires its cytotechnologists and pathologists to successfully perform a Pap-based screening test prior to being considered for employment. In addition, the company requires that its cytotechnologists register with the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as well as obtain accredited continuing education. The company also provides daily conferences using a multi-headed microscope to train its pathologists and cytotechnologists to identify unusual characteristics from specimens taken from its sizeable test volume.

The company's laboratories are accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), which operates accreditation programs that align with international standards. Quest Diagnostics was the first diagnostic testing company to employ the principles of Six Sigma in its laboratories to promote operating and service quality. In addition, the company's medical and scientific staff, consisting of 900 individuals with medical degrees or Ph.D.'s, is the largest in the diagnostic testing industry.

As the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing services, Quest Diagnostics touches the lives of patients more than 145 million times annually. In 2008, the company was the only diagnostic testing company to be ranked among FORTUNE magazine's list of "America's Most Admired Companies."

About Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide, claiming an estimated 300,000 lives in 2007. Comprehensive Pap-based screening programs could help prevent up to 80 percent of cervical cancer cases.(1) In 2004, 200 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in Ireland, and more than 90 women died of the disease.(2,1)

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX) is the leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services through its national network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative new diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care. Additional information is available .

(1) American Cancer Society

(2) Irish Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA)

SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
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