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'Jade Goody effect' increases cervical cancer screening uptake

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There has been an increase in cervical cancer screening uptake in Scotland, possibly driven by the ‘Jade Goody effect’, according to latest figures.

Data for 2009 from Information and Statistics Scotland showed that, of eligible women, 73.4% had been screened in the previous 3.5 years, a rise of approximately 4% compared to March 2008.

Of those women with a record of a previous smear taken within the last 3.5 years, uptake rates have improved across all five year age bands within the target age group of 20-60 years. When compared to March 2008, the largest increase in uptake, of more than 6%, was found in the lowest age band of 20-24 years.

Scottish public health minister Shona Robison said: Compared to last year’s publication, the percentage of women being screened is up 4 per cent – 6 per cent among women in their early twenties – and around 75,000 more smear tests were carried out. Thousands more women are taking this positive step to protect their health, which is enormously encouraging.

“The rise in uptake coincides with the HPV immunisation campaign, which promotes the importance of cervical screening and the very sad illness and death of Jade Goody, who worked hard to raise awareness of cervical cancer. This is clear proof that being more open about this illness and the need for screening can and does encourage women to come forward.”

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