Jade Goody Dies of Cervical Cancer

Jade Goody dies of cervical cancer
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Jade Goody, the British reality TV star, has died of cervical cancer at age 27. It is reported that she died quietly in her sleep Sunday, March 22, 2009. She had lived the past 7 years of her life in front of the camera. She leaves behind her new husband, Jack Tweed, and her two sons, Freddie and Bobby Jack.

Jade Goody became a face for cervical cancer. Her story inspired many to have Pap smears. It is being called the “Jade Goody effect.”

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

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> 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

* Smoking

* 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

* National Cancer Institute

* Cancerindex.org

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