The Tragedy of Jade Goody

Jade Goody, the controversial star of British reality TV, is dying of cervical cancer at age 27. This young woman, who has lived her life in front of the camera for the last 7 years, will die for the camera as well, having sold the rights to film her last days in an ongoing reality show.

Whatever you think of Jade, the publicity generated by her illness has led to a 20% upswing in the number of women getting Pap smears in Britain.

And this is a good thing. Because if Jade’s story causes even one young woman to get the smear that saves her life, it will mean Jade’s death will not have been in vain.

The Irony

Unlike Eva Peron, whose death from cervical cancer occurred in the years before we had access to screening, Jade did get pap smears.

Jade had more than one pap smear, starting in her teens. At one point, she was even treated for precancerous changes of the cervix. And went on to have more follow up smears after that.

But when those follow up smears showed a recurrence of abnormal cells, Jade ignored letters that were sent to her advising her to come in for follow up and treatment.

Why? Because she was scared..

“They had sent a letter to me ages ago, telling that I needed to go in for an operation, but I had been too scared to do anything about it,” Goody confessed.

So Jade put the whole thing out of her mind and pretended it never happened. Until repeated episodes of pain and hemorrhage became symptoms she could no longer ignore. But by then, the tumor had spread beyond the cervix to her uterus. And while a radical hysterectomy and chemotherapy staved the cancer off for awhile, it returned this past month with a vengeance.

And now Jane Goody is going to die.

Let me stop beating around the bush

What has been on my mind all week since I first read about Jade’s story, and what I want to ask is simply this –

Did any health professional ever actually call Jade and try to get her in for treatment in all that time after her Paps came back abnormal? A nurse? A doctor? Anyone?

Please don’t tell me the only contact ever made with this frightened young woman was a series of letters, each one scarier than the next. Please tell me someone called her personally and tried to get her in.

Look, I know Jade was stupid.

No one, even Jade, I suspect, would say otherwise. Ignoring multiple abnormal Pap smear letters was not the first or the last stupid thing Jade Goody ever did. This is a kid who, in front of millions, stripped nude during a game of poker, made an ass of herself shouting racial slurs to an Indian housemate and then gave a blow job under the covers to another housemate. We’re not talking rocket scientist here.

But I’ve seen Jade in interviews that I’ve watched over the past few days, trying to wrap my head around this tragedy. This kid doesn’t hold anything back. She is completely genuine, self-effacing and ready to admit her shortcomings. She’s an idiot, but she knows it. And she is anything but unreachable emotionally. I just can’t believe that someone couldn’t have convinced her to come in sooner if they’d just talked to her.

Please tell me someone tried to reach her.

Jade seems to have had multiple interactions with the health care system during those years between the abnormal smears and her ultimate diagnosis. Times when she visited doctors for pain or gastrointestinal symptoms that were probably related to her growing cancer.

Did these doctors know about her abnormal smears? Did Jade think to tell them? (Probably not…) Were the letters being sent from the NHS cervical cancer screening program separate from Jade’s actual ongoing medical care?

Heck, did Jade even have a source of ongoing care, or, god forbid, a primary physician? I doubt it. This is, after all, a lower class girl from a very rough upbringing – someone, I suspect, whose only contact with the health care system was in public clinics and ERs. She probably bounced around ER’s and hospitals during those years, failing follow up appointments, checking out AMA so she could appear in one or another publicity venue, denying that there was really anything wrong. (Update – Dr Crippen corrects my misperceptions of the British system…)

She even tried to delay her surgery after her diagnosis so she could stay on TV, till they told her she’d be dead in 3 weeks unless she went into the hospital right away.

So maybe I’m completely off base.

Maybe, just maybe, there were docs and nurses who tried to help Jade. Folks who personally called, warned, cajoled and hollered at her countless times, until finally, as a last ditch effort, they sent her a certified letter. Health professional who really cared about Jade and wanted to help her, although ultimately she refused their help.

Maybe Jade was just really that stupid.

I hope so. Because otherwise, the tragedy is not just Jade’s, but all of ours.
______________________________________________________

Update –
Dr Crippen reponds to my post with a very thoughtful post of his own regarding Jade.
I respond to Dr Crippen.

For more information about cervical cancer, see these sites –

Jade Goody Photo from Wikimedia

37 Responses to The Tragedy of Jade Goody

  1. Wow.
    How foolish am I? I am educated… I am a registered nurse in L&D.
    I don't get PAPs because I'm afraid.
    I secretly live in that place where you believe that what you don't know… doesn't exist.
    Poor girl. She could be me.

  2. If she was in the NHS system, then I am sure nobody real contacted her at all.

    But, Jade is now a young lady with substantial financial resources, and I would be astonished if she had remained within the NHS for primary care. That, of course, gave her the choice to consult who she wanted, when she wanted, and about what she wanted. And, of course, her physician is unlikely to have access to her old NHS file, which is probably languishing in Central Records.

  3. I never knew she had a tumour the size of a rugby ball and that it was pushing out when she was on the toilet! How was that missed? I think that it probably is a case of poor medical service coupled with a very frightened woman choosing to live with her head in the sand.

    It really is very sad to watch but hopefully the awareness raised will save lives.

  4. for some reason, prior records often do not seem to make it to the doctors who need them. for example, when my mother had a stroke and broke her hip last summer, they couldn’t seem to locate her records from a prior admission at that very hospital; i’m pretty sure she was discharged by the time they got ahold of those, and records from another hospital. each and every physician seemed to have no idea of the history that had been taken by the other physicians. my sister and i spent days hanging out at the hospital, hoping to catch each doctor in turn to find out what he/she knew, give all the info we had, and beg for information.

    when obama talks about making med records available electronically, that seems at first glance like a lot of money to be spent on something fancy. but i believe patients aren’t getting appropriate care because their doctors don’t know what is going on with them, and can’t timely get the relevant records. and the standard 5-second “let me take your medical history” is not filling the gap.

    i have no trouble believing that jade got frightening letters, and that nobody called her to talk about it. my most recent personal example is that when my mammo was reviewed, there was “a possible abnormality” — i found out by a letter, which encouraged me to call for a followup appointment. no details at all were provided about the “possible abnormality.” had this happened at a different time of life, i would not have been particularly worried — my 3 sisters and i are all prone to benign stuff in our breasts; we have all had biopsies; we are the sisterhood of lumpy breasts.

    except that, as i reported, one of my sisters was just diagnosed with breast cancer [invasive ductal carcinoma] in december, and then found out it was stage II and also triple-negative, so her treatment options are limited and harsh. so this letter freaked me the hell out, as did the several-week wait for the further investigation. thankfully, when i called my own doctor, she read me the actual report and was optimistic and reassuring — there is an increased density; that is common, and usually isn’t cancer; etc.

    but, what could be so hard about someone making a phone call to break that news? i know, pressed for time, yadda ya.

    i’m going tomorrow for the additional squashing. an actual radiologist will be there, and talk to me. he/she had better not be one of those doctors who wants to pronounce and not answer questions, should the news be less than an all-clear.

  5. I think that sometimes it’s almost a case of collusion between doctors and patients about ignoring abnormal pap smears. I’m lucky in that I have a very proactive ob/gyn who calls and insists that I come in for colposcopies when they’re indicated, but I have a lot of friends who’ve had 3 or 4 abnormal pap smears in a row and don’t seem to think that it’s a big deal, and whose doctors don’t seem to be that concerned about it either. I’ve always had the feeling that my particular doctor would probably come and drag me to her office by my hair if I ignored her, so I’m lucky.

  6. It is so refreshing to hear from a physician who truly cares! I am a retired RN and have worked most of my career in the oncology field, hematology and gyn. It is wonderful to know that there are true loving people working to take care of others and be willing to share their personal thoughts with the world.
    God Bless You!

  7. THATGIRL –
    Please go for your pap. If you’re afraid, tell a good friend and ask her to go with you. I’ll bet she’d even schedule the appointment for you. I have lots of patients who come with a friend, and a few who make their appointments on the same day, along with their mammograms, to support each other through the anxiety and have some time together. IT ends up being fun rather than scary.

    Go ahead. You can do this..

    Chairwoman –
    I guess the problem with big screening programs is that they are impersonal by nature because they are designed to reach millions of woman. THe price we pay is the loss of individual caring. But that same NHS program has resulted in a significant decreases in cervical cancers in Britian. I guess one could say that a few individuals are sacrificed for the greater good. It’s just sad that we can’t do it all and reach everyone.

    Anonymous –
    You’ve said it perfectly.

    Kathy A-
    I agree. The mail is for bills, and dunning notices and catalogues. It is not the way to tell someone they might have cancer. Unless, of course, One has been unable to get through in person, then sometimes a strong letter putting it all in black and white does wonders to move a patient from denial to action.

    I hope all goes well with the follow-up mammogram.

    RL-
    Indeed.

    Jen-
    Sounds like you’ve got a great doctor-patient relationship. Knowing someone cares about what happens to you means so much.

    JoJo-
    I’m sure you’ve worked with some great docs and nurses over the years. As to whether I am any more caring than other docs, I doubt it. We’re all out there trying to do the best, and I suspect the docs and nurses who saw Jade were also doing their best. But the system is making it nearly impossible to give the kind of one-on-one continuous care that would have led to a different outcome for Jade. Given what we’ve created, a nationwide EMR is becoming increasingly critical, or we can expect to see more and more outcomes like poor Jade’s.

    Thanks all for your thoughtful comments.

  8. thank you. 7-8 additional images and ultrasound revealed 2 small cysts, close together; was told to come back in 6 months “to keep an eye on them.”

    it’s time to do the pap again, too.

    i got so carried away with my stupid mammogram/letter story that i forgot to mention, at least 2 friends have had cervical cancer and survived and done well over a good many years now, because it was caught.

    one was diagnosed very early; she sought a second opinion after her first doctor ordered her to have a hysterectomy, had far less radical surgery, and gave birth to her beloved son a few years later. the other opted for a hysterectomy, went on raising her kids and kicking ass in her profession. both of my friends with cervical cancer had excellent outcomes.

  9. I have to say — I’m not sure I understand why doctors are being blamed for somebody not making or coming in for a follow-up appointment when they have been asked to do so, even if it is by a letter. Actually, isn’t a letter better than a voicemail that could easily be deleted and forgotten? At least with a letter you can sit there and look at it and make a conscious decision to either ignore or take action. It is your life, your health — you are responsible for it. I don’t understand why society has shifted in such a way that grown adults have to be coddled and hand-held through life.

  10. I’ve followed some other people’s blogs with the same genetic disorder I have neurofibromatosis type 1, and it seems like it’s a common practice to communicate by a letter in NHS. Kinda weird if you ask me… letter? how about a call? or an email?

    Cancer does not have to be death sentence — when all the pieces fall into place, most important being caught early. That wonderful option of early detection is possible with cervical cancer.

    Sorry, it upsets me a little when I see watch people/whoever around me and see preventable/detectable cancers go beyond the point of return. Ok, I’m bitter/upset because I’m at high-risk for bunch of rare-aggressive cancers, none of them are easily detected and I long for the day when at least one of them can be detected with clinical testing. No more “Well, it still kinda looks bad, but your MRI/PET scan are ok, lets not remove it yet. It’s probably benign, besides, you already know removing it can cause neurological deficit… lets just hope that trial opens up again so we can try to prevent malignant degeneration”

    With Jade’s story, NHS should have made more personal contact, Jade should have thought about it more beyond the immediate emotional reaction to the letters and there needs to be a better public education about cancer.

    Cancer does not equal death. Unless it’s too late.

  11. I am afraid a letter is all you will get from the NHS. While it does some wonderful work it is all too easy to get lost in the system. A phone call from a Dr? Don’t make us laugh!

  12. There’s probably more to Jade’s story than what we’re hearing.

    But I don’t find it outside the realm of possibility that her health providers might have become frustrated at her pig-headedness and just given up. Doctors and nurses are so busy all the time, I think they often don’t look past the patient’s behavior to see the fear that lies beneath.

    After having a rare chemotherapy complication, I remember one of the nurses remarking that sometimes patients will become frightened of further complications and will refuse to continue taking the drug that caused the problem. Her attitude seemed to be, “Oh well, it’s their decision and it’s not our job to argue with them.” I have to say I was rather appalled.

  13. Just to clarify how things work in the UK – the vast majority of people are registered with a GP (General Practitioner) who is a primary care doctor. There are no charges at any point to see a GP, and there is no limit to the number of visits you can make. Normally the only way you can access secondary care is admission via the Emergency Dept or your GP. Again, no cost. There is a nationally coordinated screening programme for cervical screening, where smears are performed (usually by a nurse at the GP surgery). If these are abnormal or insufficient then they are either repeated or the patient is sent to colposcopy, usually at a hospital. The patient then has their treatment directed from here. My understanding is that Jade ignored requests to return to colposcopy to discuss her results. Patients would not be told they had cancer via a letter, but would be invited to attend (repeatedly). If there was a high grade abnormality then I am sure that someone would have telephoned to stress the importance of her attending. Most departments would have also contacted her GP and explained their concerns. However, Jade Goody is an adult and nobody can force her to undergo investigations. Whatever happened it is clearly tragic that a 27yr mother of 2 small children is dying.
    Apologies for the long post, but just wanted to explain how things work in the UK

  14. what alex said. My smear is overdue, and I keep getting form letters to remind me – which I never got when registered with an ob/gyn or a gp in germany!

    (I will get around to it, but need to sort child care first – am always v tense during these appts, and having two kids around doesnt help)

  15. As Doctor Crippen (aka NHS Blog Doctor) has pointed out, we don't have public clinics in the UK, because we don't need them. The NHS is free of charge and you get medical care regardless of status or ability to pay. A few people wilfully ignore their GPs and don't go for checkups, but there's no problem with uninsured patients unable to afford care like there is in the US. Ms Goody has a doctor, and it's extremely unlikely that her only treatment has been in A&E departments.

  16. Another post in defense of the UK health care system, while it's by no means perfect everyone in the country has a primary care physician (called a GP), who they can see whenever they want about whatever they want, for free. GP consultation rates are in fact considerably higher in lower socioeconomic classes.

    While it's very easy to revert to the default American position blindly bashing "socialised medicine" (as if to say everything to do with society is by definition bad) consider that the UK system costs one fifth what the US one does per head of population, delivers generally equal or better outcomes, and doesn't leave a population larger than that of England with no medical care at all.

    It's true the NHS is by no means the perfect system, but it's greatest strengths are to be found in it's universality. The complete network of primary care coverage provided is among the best in the world, and means population level prevention and screening is light years ahead of the USA. The GP as a central figure in the system maintains a personal relationship between the patient and the system, and you can be sure Jade Goody's GP did more than write her a letter.

    Just one final thought on this:

    "This is, after all, a lower class girl from a very rough upbringing – someone, I suspect, whose only contact with the health care system was in public clinics and ERs"

    Not only does no money ever change hands in the NHS making it blind to upbringing, class or wealth, there is no such thing as a public clinic in the UK, all primary care is public. Attending A&E departments just isn't an alternative, as they only treat urgent and emergency conditions and then refer to the patient's GP to co-ordinate any follow up or ongoing care.

  17. “I guess one could say that a few individuals are sacrificed for the greater good. It’s just sad that we can’t do it all and reach everyone”. from answers on February 28. As far as the individuals who are missed, this is called Darwinism, the system is there but people dont want to use it. “We are scared”, “We are too busy”, “We can’t arrange child care”. The responsibility for your helthcare lies with you, the medics will do what they can but at some point you have to face up to it and do something for yourself.
    Jade Goody is an ignorant, self indulgent, stupid woman who made her name by being stupid and ignorant and now this stupidity and ignorance is going to kill her when she could have received first class treatment with no cost. In UK everone has a GP, everyone had access to treatment that is free at the point of use but she ignored it and is now paying the price.

  18. I don’t think anyone would know how they would react until they have been there themselves. An abnormal result may make you want to stick your head in the sand, just like when a woman finds a lump in their breast they may delay or not go to the doctors. Whichever way you look at it, a 27 year old woman with 2 small children, is dying and I feel that more should have been done to make her aware of the risks and to help her. A letter stating an abnormal result is not enough, if someone has cancer or precancerous cells, their gp should personally tell them.

  19. I would like to point out that by no means is it true that in the Uk do we never get a call from a doctor, either GP or Hospital doctor (right up to consultant level).

    A number of years ago I had an Angiogram after being referred to the hospital by my GP. I was told by the technician? (forgive a layman, not being entirely accurate with medical terms or people if you will) that I would likely be called in an a couple of months or so and that they would write to me. Two days later the consultant himself called me and said i would need to come in for Angiplasty and for a couple of coronary stents to be fitted. “OK” says I, “let me know when and I shall arrange time off with appropriate notice”. “No” said the consultant, “We need you in this week” and then went on to explain exactly why I should heed his words… Of course I dropped everything and attended and have been fine ever since. But my own experience goes to show that whilst the NHS does relay mostly on contact by letter, on many occasions a call is indeed made.

    Steve

  20. Low income families receive much better health care in the UK than in the US. It is free so that is fact.

    However, it is not without it’s flaws. In the case of Jade, she would have received 3 letters to inform her to come back for further treatment. It then depends on the practice whether or not she would have received a phone call to try and explain the situation in more detail. If in this period of time she also moved home and doctor (which is highly likely) then her new doctor may not have been informed of her previous abnormal cells. In the UK if you go to a sexual health clinic then you can also opt for the results not to be forwarded on to your general practioner. This may explain the delay in her latter diagnosis as if she did not bring up her previous problems then her doctor may not have known.

    Now I am not sure of how much we should expect from the NHS. If someone chooses to ignore then that is their prerogative. However, most people in their twenties tend to believe they are infallible so perhaps more money and effort should be made to ensure people in cases such as these are personally directed (i.e. telephone call).

    There is undoubtedly plenty of non-celebrity US citizens suffering from the same illness right now. Please don’t pass on patronising judgement about the UK health-care system when your own health care system is so incredibly inadequate at dealing with the problems of ALL its citizens.

  21. Anonymous –

    I clearly seemed to have pushed a major Brit buttion with this post, and for that I apologise. This post was never meant to patronize your healthcare system, it was merely to ask the question – did someone call Jade? No because they had to, or because your health care system is not good, or because I think we are better than you (which we are not, and I’m not sure what in my post makes you think I feel that way), but because it seems like it would have been the right thing to do, for the very reasons you state.

    Then again, it’s triggered a great discussion about the relative merits of one system versus another, so comment on, all….

  22. hey all, i think it's all down to the individual, at the end of the day all the services/care we need is there just a phone call or a quick walk away ( local practice ) and if we are willing to put the effort in im sure you will get more response from the other end :), ignorance is not bliss and it's far from it in any circumstances.
    also i don't understand how some people could suggest anything like a phonecall to recieve result's instead of a letter or alternative.
    To be honest phone call's are not used to disclose any information because there is no guarantee they are talking to the correct person and yet still as put above somone would never recieve result's of terminal illness in any LETTER OR Phonecall anyway ( And i hope it never happens). They would be requested to come in in person by letter or phonecall, but i think ignorance to you're gp/doctor and these requests over time does not create a good GP>>>>patient relation and you would find it harder still to go back after due time or to discuss problem/illness + the fact i think the more you talk about personnel problem's with you're GP the more comfortable you feel dicussing other problem's with them and there is no doubt they are all willing to give this care and relation is the patient's is coordinate accordingly 🙂

    i've read all above and will be back to read more 🙂 keep it goin

  23. If the patient’s coordinate accordingly 🙂 ** corrected**

    p.s sry to double post but mistakes drive me insane and did not notice 🙂

  24. She’s an adult, she was informed of a problem with her health and she was told what she had to do about it. The rest is her own fault I’m afraid.

    I feel sorry for her kids but it’s nobody’s fault but her own.

  25. I have over 20 years experience in the NHS. I can assure you that at both GP and consultant level I have made many telephone calls chasing people who have not come in for appointments for tests or not responded to letters. The number of times people have refused to come in for tests is amazing and short of dragging them in myself there is not much you can do apart from advise them strongly that they should. I am sure the places I have worked are not the only ones to do this.

  26. You in the UK are lucky to have access to the NHS to provide healthcare to everyone. I’m an American who spent years in the UK. It’s not perfect, but it’s fair. However, resources are limited. It is not the Health Service’s responsibility to beg you to come in so that they can save your life! Letters are quicker and thus cheaper so that resources can be allocated elsewhere. To blame the health service for not dragging her to treatment is ridiculous. She received fair warning and stupidly ignored it. Unfortunately, she paid the ultimate price. Even though it’s too late for her to learn from it, hopefully others will. Why would you expect someone else to care for you better than you care for yourself?

    • This is completely idioitc, what racism. I thought political correctness had become horrible in america, but apparently it cant hold a candle to the insanity of british political correctness.When i first heard about this I assumed goody was guilty of being totally horrible, but after actually watching the clip on youtube i was dumbfounded.Anyone who claims this is racist is far dumber than Jade Goody

  27. I think it's unacceptable to simply dismiss her as a stupid, silly girl if she didn't have pap smears or go for follow-up…
    I think that's cold and insensitive.
    It also misses a HUGE ethical and legal point.
    ALL cancer screening has risks as well as benefits and because it's aimed at healthy people, we MUST give our INFORMED CONSENT for this test and any other….
    Some people decide that the risks of this testing far exceed the risk of the cancer. (their absolute right)
    To dismiss the right of any person to make an informed decision is unethical and unacceptable.
    Otherwise we may as well move to marshall law.
    I have quite a few friends who choose not to have smears or have them very infrequently. They certainly don't follow the US recommendations that guarantee you'll face biopsies for a false positive at least once during your lifetime, if not more often…
    I think many like to paint women as uneducated or ignorant if they refuse testing…in fact, two of my friends are pathologists and they decline testing. They KNOW this is an unreliable test for an uncommon cancer…you take a gamble with your health when you have this test. One of my friends has said that high risk women may choose to take that gamble, but she's certainly not interested in doing so…
    Unnecessary biopsies can mean health problems into the future for absolutely no benefit.
    I hate this notion that women must fall into line like compliant sheep.
    I hate the scare campaigns, the lies and the one-sided reporting.
    Why not tell us some stories about the thousands harmed by testing?
    When a young person dies of cancer it's a tragic event…but you don't shape public health policy on the rare cases.
    My pathologist friends tell me that the very rare cancers that occur in very young women are usually missed by the smear test anyway and that false negatives mean lots of women are diagnosed at a later stage because they relied on the very unreliable smear test.
    If you're going to paint a picture at least be respectful enough…to tell us the whole story.

  28. Thankfully the screening age will not be lowered…it would simply mean more over-treatment and there is enough of that already…
    Many countries are now changing screening policy to exclude women under 30…
    the smear often misses the very rare cancer in this age group and this group end up being over-treated to their detriment.
    The cervix changes during your 20's and you don't need medical treatment…all but the rare case resolve without treatment.
    Treating these women means many will have problems with fertility and during pregnancy – not to mention the negatives surrounding the actual procedures.
    (pain, embarrassment etc)
    Rare cases are sad…but they should never shape public health policy.

  29. I think women should be told they're very likely to have one abnormal smear in their lifetime at the very beginning.
    An abnormal result means certain death in the minds of most women…we've never been told this test produces lots of incorrect test results.
    I think that may explain why women don't follow-up when they get an abnormal result.
    They either:
    a) assume its another false positive and don't wish to go through the colposcopy business again, or
    b) they are too afraid to face the possible diagnosis of cancer (what I don't acknowledge, is not happening type reasoning) or, they incorrectly assume they actually have cancer.
    I know women who say they had cervical cancer at 24…when I'm quite sure it must have been a false positive…if all of these women had cervical cancer, we'd be in the middle of an enormous epidemic.
    I don't think that's the case.
    I think this heightens the fear of this cancer which is probably out of all proportion to the risk.
    I have a friend who never misses her smear test, but smokes two packs of cigarettes a week. She thinks she has cancer covered with the regular smear.
    I think the smoking is a much bigger threat to her health than cervical cancer.

    I don't think there is any point to testing if you're not going to investigate an abnormal result.
    It's probably better not to have testing at all.
    I disagree with doctors failing to warn women of the risks of an "abnormal" result and where it will lead…
    If they did, we'd be going into testing knowing the risks and better prepared for the next step.
    Almost all of my friends have had a colposcopy, so it seems very common.
    Women should understand an abnormal result is COMMON and not a death sentence.
    Until that happens, fear and ignorance will control our actions and attitudes.
    Thanks for the interesting and informative blog.

  30. I don’t blame Jade Goody at all, I blame the doctors who tested her at 16 years of age. The smear was abnormal (a false positive) which is the usual thing with very young women, the immature cervix produces “abnormal” results. Cervix cancer in a teenager is almost unheard of…very, very rare.
    Well, she was so deeply traumatized that she ignored letters calling for her to have another painful, invasive procedure in her mid 20’s.
    This happens less often in the UK now, but you still find highly unethical doctors who still try to scare young women into testing. Our doctors get paid to reach targets and this encourages unethical conduct and inappropriate testing.
    Testing under 25 is plain dangerous and you risk your general and reproductive health. Three yearly from 25 is the recommendation for a reason, to protect women from harm, as far as possible…
    You see the widespread devastation caused to the health and well-being of young women in the States with their very early testing.
    Sadly, this test is inaccurate and instead of 1% getting cervix cancer, we have around 65% of UK women worried sick and being referred over their lifetime. Given this is a rare cancer, more than 64% of the cases are false positives. In the States, I understand almost every woman (about 95%) is referred if she agrees to early screening and annual screening.
    The over-detection and excessive biopsies DO put women off, two of my friends now refuse all testing after bad experiences.
    It’s time to give women options, the days of the doctor taking responsibility for our health care decisions are over…we are independent, intelligent women quite capable of making our own decisions and living with the consequences whatever they might be…being left with cervical stenosis after an unnecessary procedure or getting that rare case of cervix cancer.
    At the moment most women feel dragged along with this testing and feel resentful, used, manipulated…lots of negative feelings.
    Until there is major change, nothing will change. My own mother has tossed referral letters in the rubbish – after two unnecessary biopsies, she’s had enough.
    We need to approach cervical screening as we do prostate screening – give women all the benefits and risks and leave it to them, no woman should ever be forced to have a cancer screening test.
    Negative outcomes are very common with this test and when the risk from this cancer is very low, the woman must have an opportunity to say yes or no.
    That has never happened…doctors are responsible for Jade Goody’s death. An unnecessary and traumatic experience can shape our decisions long into the future.

  31. I agree with the last poster.
    After a very upsetting, embarrassing and painful experience at 18, my wife has never tested again and never will…
    I think the risk of getting this cancer has been blown out of proportion, you’re more likely to get most other cancers, most occur more often than cervical cancer, with or without screening.
    There are problems with this test that everyone hides from women and that’s unacceptable.
    My GP said this test is an imperfect & costly bit of insurance for the remote but catastrophic event of cervical cancer.
    My wife takes bigger risks every day, but it’s bad that an early completely unnecessary procedure means the test is completely dismissed – she wouldn’t even self-test because of the fear of another false positive and more day procedure.
    I’m happy for her to get on with her life, but when doctors take big risks with the lives of their female patients and cut them out of the information loop, there will be resentment and bitterness at the very least.
    You hear of masses of women having day procedure when the cancer is uncommon, some say rare, you hear of women getting cancer who’ve always had normal pap tests….approaching this testing respectfully and honesty would empower women. At the moment most are victims of this testing whether they test or not.
    It’s 20 years now since my wife tested and at least 6 of her friends have given it away as well.
    That’s why I think the number of women screening will continue to fall….the entire program needs a rethink.

  32. Jade was a black woman living in a white world. She tired her best to fit in and get along. She grew up in poverty and lacked the opportunities that other more privledged people had. When she found herself in he spotlight. She did her best to be herself and embrace the change. She lived badly. And did not take responsibility for her life. however, the media had a feild day with her. Calling her a pig ‘Miss piggy’, Ugly and worse. A lot of the comments against her had racist undertones. All of that along with the whole Big brother experience took a toll on her. Literally it was like the whole world against Jade. She could not help being raised in a poor uneducated family. She did the best she could to promise her children a better life. Out of the Jo and the other girl. Jade was the least offensive. And in the end she tried to make amends. Jade awas a very broken black women living in a white world. She belived that she was ugly for her big lips and ‘fat’ body. She nether thought once to embrace that part of her that was hated so. She rejected the ‘pig’, black, whatever society wants to call it. ‘Ugly’ aspect of herself. her vent on Shilpa was as a result of anger at herself for not being given a good life. her comments were about class more than ‘race’. Jade died from a cancer manifests from her emotional state of deep sadness. Witnessing the fall of jade was one of the most horrific things I’d ever seen. How the whole ofthe UK stomped her life away.Few offered to enlighten her. Most degraded her. Her fall is more refoective of the sickness of the British people and its media than anything else. And the level of racist that exists in that country. The death of Jade is something that all british people had a hand in. her fall is just another stain on the already stained hands of the sick British Police state.

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