The Jade effect: Thousands more seek information about disease

News that Jade Goody was suffering from cervical cancer led thousands more women than usual to seek information about the disease.





On the day the reality TV star was diagnosed in August 2008, Cancer Research UK witnessed 10 times the usual number of hits to its website.



Before Jade was diagnosed, the cervical cancer section of the website received around 2,000 to 3,000 hits each day.



On the day of her diagnosis, this jumped to 32,000 and visitor numbers have been two to three times higher than usual ever since.



Some cervical screening teams across the UK also reported a rise in the number of women attending their appointments for smear tests.



Historically, the number of young women attending screening has been falling all across the UK.



Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under 35 but the vast majority of cases still occur in women who are older.



Among under 35s, there were just 671 new cases in the UK in 2005, compared with more than 2,300 new cases in women over this age.



Another 24,000 women get smear test results each year showing severely abnormal changes to the cells of their cervix, indicating the likelihood of cancer unless treatment is given.



Signs of cervical cancer can be picked up through smear tests, or women may experience symptoms such as bleeding between periods, after or during sex, or pain or discomfort after or during sex.



The chances of survival are good if the disease is caught early, indicating that Jade's disease was identified at a later stage.



To diagnose the disease, a woman often undergoes a colposcopy, where the doctor uses a large magnifying glass to examine the covering of the cervix.



The doctor may also take a biopsy, where a sample of tissue is removed for closer examination by trained professionals in the laboratory.



Once a diagnosis has been made, doctors can tell the woman how advanced her cancer is.



Stage 0 is when some of the cells look cancerous but are contained within the skin covering the cervix, stage 1 is where the cancer is just in the neck of the womb and stage 2 is where the cancer has begun to spread around the neck of the womb.



Stage 3 refers to when the cancer has spread into the pelvis and stage 4 - the most advanced stage - is when the cancer has spread to other body organs, as happened in Jade's case.



Early cervical cancer can be treated with surgery, which may involve removing part of the cervix or the entire womb, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.



For some very early, small cervical cancers, it may be possible to treat the cancer with a cone biopsy, where the affected tissue is removed under general anaesthetic.



By stage 4, there is little or no chance of full recovery - only 15% to 30% of women with advanced cervical cancer live longer than five years.



Most cases of the disease are caused by the sexually transmitted infection, human papillomavirus (HPV), which is now being tackled via a UK-wide vaccination programme of young girls.



There are also other risk factors for cervical cancer, including smoking, with smokers being more likely to develop the disease.



Researchers have found cancer-causing chemicals from cigarette smoke in the cervical mucus of women who smoke and smokers who also have a 'high risk' type of HPV infection are twice as likely to get cervical cancer.



Women with a weakened immune system, including those who have a poor diet, have a higher risk of many cancers, including cervical cancer.



Some studies have also suggested that women who take the Pill have double the risk of cervical cancer if they have been on it for at least five years, although more research is needed in this area.



Controversy surrounded Jade's case because women in England are not invited for cervical cancer screening until they are 25.



Experts from the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes say this is because the disease is rare among young women and minor abnormalities in cells usually correct themselves.



Once cervical cells begin to change, it typically takes 10 to 15 years before invasive cervical cancer develops.



There are two main types of cervical cancer and research is still ongoing into whether one type is more aggressive than the other.



The time between Jade's diagnosis and death was just a matter of months, suggesting that her cancer was already at an advanced stage upon diagnosis.



Within five months, doctors had told her that the cancer had spread to her liver, bowel and groin - a devastating blow for the 27-year-old.



While such advanced cancer can sometimes be controlled with treatment to prolong life, Jade was was very aware she had just months to live.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power