Rising cancer tests due to 'Jade effect'

DEMAND for smear tests in east Suffolk has soared by 130% following reality TV star Jade Goody's public battle with cancer, it has emerged.

Russell Claydon

DEMAND for smear tests in east Suffolk has soared by 130% following reality TV star Jade Goody's public battle with cancer, it has emerged.

Women have been waiting nearly four weeks for their screening results after the “substantial” increase in the number of test requests.

Last month there were 3,859 women requesting tests in the east of the county - a rise from 1,676 in the same month the previous year.

You may also want to watch:

NHS Suffolk had no exact figures for the west of the county but said there had been a shortage in testing kits near Newmarket.

The rising demand follows the media coverage given to Ms Goody's cancer diagnosis and fight against cervical cancer, which she lost last month.

Most Read

Ministers are currently looking at lowering the age for inviting women to have the smear tests from 25 to 20.

But health chiefs in Suffolk have hailed the life-saving impact the new interest in getting screened will create.

A spokeswoman for NHS Suffolk said: “It is really important that people go for free cervical screening at their GP surgery when they receive their letters.

“Cervical screening is a check to see if there are any changes in the cells around the cervix which, if left alone, may develop into cancer.

“All women aged between 25 and 64 are invited to be screened every three to five years in an effort to reduce the number of women who develop cancer.

“Attending screening means that any abnormal changes in the cervix are caught early and, if needed, treated.

“Uptake of screening remains high in Suffolk and any increase we see in the numbers of women being screened will save more lives.”

The spokeswoman added that the shortage of testing kits in the Newmarket area had been covered by kits transported from Ipswich.

Ms Goody, 27, was diagnosed with cancer last year and died in the early hours of Mother's Day last month. Thousands of people turned out for her funeral on April 4.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are aware that there's been increased demand on cervical screening services due to recent media attention and some laboratories are experiencing backlogs, but these are being dealt with at a local level.”

In England women aged 25 to 49 are invited for cervical screenings every three years and those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years. But cervical screening is currently offered to women aged 20 to 64 living in Wales.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus