Jade Goody and Cervical Cancer
Jade Goody, the British reality TV star, is dying of cervical cancer at age 27. For the past 7 years she had lived in front of the camera. Now she will approach her death the same way – in front of the camera as part of her ongoing reality show.
It is reported that Goody’s cervical cancer has spread to her liver and bowels. Even though she has only months to live, she is getting married this Sunday to boyfriend, Jack Tweed. She has reported given the reasons for continuing to live in front of the camera as “the publicity and profits made from selling her story will help her sons, 4-year-old Freddie and 5-year-old Bobby Jack, and raise awareness of cervical cancer.”
The last reason seems to be happening and is being called the “Jade Goody effect.” There has been at least a 20% upswing in the number of women getting Pap smears in Britain.
Cervical cancer forms in tissues of the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and vagina). It is a cancer that often has no symptoms, but can be found with regular Pap tests. A Pap smear is a procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix and looked at under a microscope. It is done during a routine gynecologic exam.
It is estimated that there are more than 11,000 new cases of cervical cancer in the United States each year. There were nearly 4,000 deaths in 2008 from cervical cancer.
Early cervical cancers usually don't cause symptoms which is why Pap smears are so important. As the cancer grows larger, women may notice one or more of these symptoms:
> Abnormal vaginal bleeding -- bleeding that occurs between regular menstrual periods or after sexual intercourse, douching, or a pelvic exam or after menopause
> Menstrual periods that last longer and are heavier than before
> Increased vaginal discharge
> Pelvic pain or pain during sex
These symptoms can also be caused by infections or other health problems. It is important to see you gynecologist if you have any of them.
There are some risk factors which put a woman at increased risk of developing cervical cancer. These include:
* HPV (human papillomavirus) infection
* Sexual history: Women who have had many sexual partners have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. Also, a woman who has had sex with a man who has had many sexual partners may be at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. In both cases, the risk of developing cervical cancer is higher because these women have a higher risk of HPV infection.
* DES (diethylstilbestrol): DES may increase the risk of a rare form of cervical cancer in daughters exposed to this drug before birth. DES was given to some pregnant women in the United States between about 1940 and 1971. (It is no longer given to pregnant women.)
For more information about cervical cancer, see these sites -