The Jade Goody effect on cervical cancer screening

The recent documentary about Jade Goody has one again brought the importance of early screening into the spotlight to prevent a late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of cancer.

A recent Channel 5 3-part documentary looked back over the turbulent life of Jade Goody including the heartbreaking moment she was told she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer on live TV.

Jade had spoken out about her experience before her death, just 7 months after receiving her diagnosis. She had received treatment when abnormal cells were found during a smear test on three previous occasions, and had also received a fourth diagnosis which she did not act upon as she admitted to being scared.

In 2004 and 2006 Jade experienced heavy bleeding and stomach pains and was subsequently rushed to hospital. She was tested for ovarian cancer and bowel cancer respectively, but the results gave her the all clear.

She then fell pregnant in March 2007 but unknown to her, the cancer was already present and growing, and she sadly suffered a miscarriage. Jade continued to lose blood and when she told doctors, they attributed this to a second miscarriage. However, Jade knew that something serious was wrong.

At one point whilst in hospital, having suffered blood loss and severe pain in her legs, doctors found nothing wrong with her, despite both of these being symptoms of cervical cancer. She was offered another smear test before being given permission to fly to India and compete in their version of Big Brother.

When Jade returned to the UK, she was told by doctors that the cancer had been present for two years., wat the size of a tangerine and had destroyed more than half of her womb. During an operation to remove the tumour, it was discovered that the cancer had spread to surrounding tissue, and she was given the diagnosis of terminal cancer. The cancer had spread to her bowel, liver and groin.

Jade Goody died on March 22nd, 2009.

Following her death, the number of women attending cervical screenings, otherwise known as smear tests, rose by half a million. This was dubbed “the Jade Goody effect”. However, ten years later, the numbers attending screenings has fallen. It is hoped that the recent documentary will create awareness and emphasise the need for regular checks, but the medical profession are trying to find ways to ensure the uptake of smear tests increases, to decrease the risk or a delayed diagnosis or cervical cancer misdiagnosis.

If you or a family member has had an experience like Jade, you may be eligible to claim compensation. If your treatment has been delayed, contact a specialist cervical cancer solicitor for free initial advice and let us take a look at your claim.

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