Jade Goody’s legacy

April 13, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

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jade-goodyThe reality TV star Jade Goody may be gone but she left a very important legacy – increased awareness and changed attitudes toward cervical cancer. Health experts called it the “Jade Goody effect“.

There are some people who were a bit critical of Jade, complaining about publicity stunts and media exploitation. However, it is undeniable that Jade’s story also placed cancer, particularly cervical cancer in the limelight. In the process, many women opted for cervical cancer screening that may just have saved their lives.

According to The Guardian UK

Sad though the cause, the new interest in cervical cancer has been welcomed by cancer charities and those involved in the screening programme. The proportion of women taking up the invitation to go for a screening test has been steadily dropping for about a decade. The latest figures, from March last year, show 78.6% of eligible women had been tested, which meant that the take-up had dropped below 80% for the third year in a row.

Jade Goody’s case reportedly had a major impact on the UK’s National Health Services (NHS) cervical screening program. It led the re-examination of England’s policy of screening starting at the age of 25 while it is offered starting at 20 in other parts of the UK. More women requested for cervical cancer screening all over the country. In addition, interest for the anti-human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine has also increased. The vaccine, also known as “cervical cancer jab” and is recommended to girls as young as 11 years old, was initially met with scepticism. Recently, however, it seems that more and more mothers are asking that their daughters be given the vaccine which has been available in UK schools since last year.

Jade’s story made many people, especially young women think about their own mortality. The fact that she was only 27 years old, had a promising Reality TV career and left behind two young children made us realize that cancer and death are not only for the old and the feeble. Cancer can hit anybody.

According to Cervical Cancer UK,

Cervical cancer is a major health problem in the world today. In some developing countries it is the commonest female cancer. It is estimated that around 370,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in the world each year. Cervical cancer, however, is one of the most preventable form of cancer and regular screening and early detection are the keys to prevention.

Jade died on March 22, 2009 and was buried on April 4, 2009. She may be gone but the Jade Goody effect lives on.

Photo credit: wikicommons

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