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Measuring the ‘Jade effect’

by Kat Arney | Analysis

12 June 2009

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jade goody
Has Jade's story affected the way that people think about cancer?

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about a survey being run by scientists at the Cancer Research UK-funded UCL Health Behaviour Research Unit and the Daily Mirror.

The survey aimed to uncover whether Jade Goody’s story had changed people’s attitudes towards cancer.

Now the results are in, and they make interesting reading.

The survey shows that nearly two-thirds of the 700 women surveyed are more likely to go for their next cervical screening test and any follow-up tests, as a result of Jade’s story.  This is obviously great news, as last year around a fifth of women didn’t take up their invitation for cervical screening – a figure that equates to hundreds of thousands of people.

Reassuringly, nine out of ten respondents knew that the cervical screening programme existed. But it still seems that the message that cervical screening saves lives isn’t getting through to everyone. The survey found that 73 women aged 25 to 64 (the age bracket for screening) had never taken up an invitation for screening, and just under half of these said they still wouldn’t.

Every single death from cancer is devastating, but by raising the issue of cervical cancer in the media, Jade’s personal battle with cancer has measurably helped to raise awareness of screening for the disease.  Through this, her ‘legacy’ could help to save many lives in the future.


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