Cancer checks rise due to Jade's illness

JADE Goody's fight against cancer has prompted more Suffolk women to have cervical screens, it emerged today.

JADE Goody's fight against cancer has prompted more Suffolk women to have cervical screens, it emerged today.

The former Big Brother star's public battle with the disease has prompted a jump in the take-up of the life-saving tests which can detect cervical cancer.

The Suffolk-based West Anglia Pathology Cervical Screening Unit, which tests cervical smears from parts of Suffolk and Cambridge, said it had seen an increase of more than 40 per cent in its workload.

In February 2008, the average number of cases it dealt with each week was 1,247, but in the last week of February this year it analysed 1,771 cases.

Roseanna Bignell, laboratory manager, said: “Since the announcement that Jade is terminally ill we have had a particular increase.

“We often get little fluctuations but we haven't seen fluctuations like this before.

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“The main increase appears to have come from women who had had invitations but had previously not come for screening.

“Before this nationally and regionally there has been a steady decline in take-up rates, particularly in 25 to 35-year-olds, but we can't yet see if this will reverse it for good.

“If there is a positive to be drawn from Jade's tragedy it is increased awareness of the importance of attending for cervical screening and that cancer is not only a disease that affects older women.”

Dr Brian Keeble, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust, added: “At the age of 25 women receive a letter advising them to join the screening programme.

“We have been concerned in recent years that up to a third of women at this age simply ignore the letter - so we would urge all women to attend their GP surgery for screening when invited.”

Has Jade's illness made you go for a cervical screen? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

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