Jade's battle 'boosts screening'

Think of reality TV and the chances are that Jade Goody's name will readily enter your mind. But aside from rising to fame and fortune from the humble beginnings of Big Brother, her "lasting legacy" has come from her well-publicised battle against cervical cancer.

Top cervical cancer searches:
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  3. Cervical smear tests
  4. Well Woman clinic
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  8. Jade Goody website
  9. NHS website
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The 27-year-old died earlier this year having been diagnosed in 2008 and new figures show that the number of women aged between 25 and 64 being screened rose by 12% last year.

As the first increase since 2002, both the government and charities say that her tragic death from the disease is more than likely the cause of the rising numbers.

The NHS Information Centre showed that screening rose from 3.2m to 3.6m in 2008-9 and the increase was most prominent among younger age groups.

Professor Jane Maher, chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "We are pleased that more young women are having the smear test and hope this rise continues, as screening undoubtedly saves lives.

"When spotted early, abnormalities can usually be treated successfully by a smear test and that is why it is also essential that women attend follow up appointments for further tests.

"Jade Goody really did leave a lasting legacy. She was open and honest about having cancer and as a result, so many more young women are now looking at their own health and are motivated into taking action."

Sarah Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, agreed, adding: "Media coverage of Jade Goody's tragic plight brought important cervical cancer awareness messages into living rooms across the UK and the huge increase in people seeking information about cervical screening following Jade's diagnosis became known as the 'Jade effect'.

"It is gratifying to see that the result of her story that was played out so painfully in public has resulted in so many more women attending cervical screening."

She may have caused controversy during her lifetime, but her tragic passing has meant that thousands may be saved from the same fate.