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Jade Goody’s Death Wakeup Call to Girls in Wales

by Gopalan on  April 12, 2009 at 3:11 PM Women Health News   - G J E 4
 Jade Goody’s Death Wakeup Call to Girls in Wales
TV star Jade Goody's death seems to have worked like a wakeup call for young girls in Wales. There is a rush for pap smear tests.

In the last few weeks Cervical Screening Wales and GPs have said increasing numbers of young women are accepting their invitation for a smear test.
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All women are offered a smear test every three years from the age of 20 in Wales.

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Dr Hilary Fielder, director of screening services for the National Public Health Service for Wales, said: "In the last few weeks, we have seen a substantial rise in the number of women taking up their invitation for cervical screening.

"The rise has led to an increase in laboratory workloads of between 60% to 100% above normal.

"As a result, it is taking longer to get test results to women.

"A year ago it would typically take about a week, at the moment it is taking up to four weeks.

"We regret this delay and we are currently looking at the introduction of overtime arrangements in the laboratories so we can reduce the time it takes to give women their results.

"Having a regular smear test, every three years, is an important way to prevent cancer and we would encourage women to attend for their test when they receive their invitation."

And Dr David Bailey, a GP in Trethomas and chairman of the Welsh GP committee, said: "We have noticed a huge increase in the numbers responding to their invitation for a smear test and it's a reasonable assumption that this has been because of Jade Goody.

"It's not surprising the result of this has been an increase in the time it takes to get the results back from the laboratory - but this delay is only quite small."

The number of young women who have smear tests in Wales had fallen in recent years but the decline now appears to have been halted.

Dr Fielder said: "We know that most women have been aware of Jade Goody's illness and, in the last six months or so, the fall in cervical screening uptake appears to have been reversed.

"It is important to note that a one-off smear test is not the answer and regular screening is the most effective way of detecting pre-cancerous changes in the cervix."

And Dr Bailey added: "The Jade Goody effect will hopefully bring it home to women just how important this test can be."

BEV Downes believes more must be done to raise awareness of cervical cancer, after being diagnosed with the disease.

The 32-year-old from Merthyr Tydfil, who now lives in Cardiff, is in remission but must undergo regular tests.

Bev had her first smear test in 2006 when she was 29 - she had moved around a lot and was not registered with a GP.

The smear revealed the presence of abnormal cells and, following further tests, she was told she had cervical cancer.

She will tell S4C's Hacio current affairs programme: "I wasn't aware what the [smear] test was and what it involved, and even after having the test, I was still unaware what exactly they were looking for.

"The news that I had cancer came as such a shock."

Fortunately the cancer was at an early stage and Bev was able to have surgery - a procedure called a radical trachelectomy - to remove most of her cervix.

The operation, which is only suitable for women with cancer which has not spread beyond the cervix, leaves enough behind so it is still possible to have a baby.

"Being 29 and not having children, having a hysterectomy would have been devastating," Bev said.

"Having this surgery, which still allowed the possibility of having children, was extremely important to me. I was very fortunate to have the surgery."

She added: "Much more needs to be done to raise awareness regarding this cancer.

"I wasn't fully aware of how vital it was to get checked and to go for a screening test.

"We need to make sure young women know how crucial it is to go for screening and to make sure they know exactly what is involved in the test.

"I think the responsibility lies with everyone. The Government, schools and parents should all urge their children to go along."



Source: Medindia
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