The End of the Jade Goody effect?
Cervical Cancer screening rates have hit a 10 year low, meaning that less and less women are being tested for Cervical Cancer across the UK. Charities blame the decline on the end of the ‘Jade Goody effect’.
The Big Brother reality TV star and mother of two, Jade Goody, died from the disease on March 22nd 2009, at just 27 years of age. This tragedy together with Jade's tireless campaigning caused a dramatic rise in screenings and saw more than 400,000 women in England tested for Cervical Cancer between mid-2008 to 2009. However, almost exactly 4 years after Jade’s death the number of women attending screenings has significantly fallen.
Cervical Cancer is the second most common cancer in females under 35 and leads to the death of 1000 women every year in the UK alone. Everyday 8 women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and 3 die of the disease that is caused through the contraction of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). *
Despite the fact that Cervical Cancer screening saves 5000 lives every year in the UK, 20 per cent of women are not being tested. More than 1 in 5 women between 25 and 64, and 1 in 3 under 35 are not being tested at all and screening has dropped to below 80 per cent in women over 50 years of age.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the only dedicated cervical cancer charity in the UK, has found that some women deem testing through screenings unnecessary or irrelevant to them. However, HPV is an extremely common virus and 4 out of 5 people in the world will catch the virus at some point in their lives without knowing. Cervical Cancer can be contracted as soon as females start having intimate relationships as HPV is passed on through sexual contact, not just sexual intercourse.
Additionally, it has been revealed that many are unaware of the symptoms of Cervical Cancer and the prevention methods available to them, leading many women to avoid screenings. However, symptoms of the cancer are not always obvious until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Therefore, prevention through regular check-ups is crucial and helps to save many women’s lives every day.
Cervical Cancer can also be prevented through the HPV vaccination jab, which protects against 4 types of the HPV virus, two of which are the leading causes of cervical cancer. The vaccination is most effective in females between the ages of 9 and 26, and is given in a course of 3 injections. For more advice on the HPV vaccination jab, please read our blog on ‘Protecting Your Daughter’s Health’ http://www.sti-test-sussex.co.uk/section-blog/item/protecting-your-daughter-s-health?category_id=5
Here at Southdowns Sexual Health Clinic, we aim to urge more women to look after their health and book a Cervical Cancer screening either with their local GP today or with ourselves if they would prefer to be seen privately. Prevention will significantly help to reduce the rising number of Cervical Cancer victims.
* Figures are averages and taken from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust