Today marks three years since the death of reality television star Jade Goody, who campaigned for better awareness of cervical cancer among women.
But experts have warned that the “Jade Goody effect”, which created a surge in numbers of women attending cancer screenings, appears to have been short-lived.
Campaigners urged young women to attend screening appointments, pointing out that the earlier any cancer was diagnosed, the better the outcome would be.
Goody died from cervical cancer in 2009 at the age of 27.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination, which blocks strains of the virus most likely to cause cervical cancer, is now offered to all girls between the ages of 12 and 17 in the UK.
It is hoped that this will dramatically reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. But there are still concerns that women are ignoring the need to go for regular smear tests.
Robert Music, director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a charity dedicated to those affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, said: “I am concerned at the worrying downward trend we are seeing, with thousands of women ignoring their screening invitation, with coverage for screening close to levels before Jade was diagnosed.”