Jade Goody's high-profile battle with cancer has led to a sharp rise in the number of women undergoing screening, figures have revealed.
A report from the NHS Information Centre has shown that a downward trend in the screening of women aged 25 to 64 was reversed dramatically last year, with an extra 400,000 having the check in 2008-09.
AdvertisementThe centre's figures indicate that numbers rose from 3.2 million to 3.6 million.
The proportion screened in the past five years rose from 78.6 per cent in March 2008 to 78.9 per cent in March 2009, the first time the percentage has increased since 2002.
The report, Cervical Screening Programme, England 2008-09, showed that the number of women aged 25 to 49 who had been screened in the previous three and a half years increased from 69.3 per cent in March 2008 to 72.5 per cent in March 2009.
Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, said the figures showed the remarkable effect that the reality television star's case had on public health.
"Jade's bravery and openness in her fight against cervical cancer has brought home to young women the importance of regularly going for these checks," Times Online quoted him as saying.
"As a result, nearly half a million extra women attended, which will save the lives of hundreds of women," he added.
Goody died in March, at 27. The time between her diagnosis and death was only months, suggesting that her cancer was at an advanced stage on diagnosis. Within five months it had spread to her liver, bowel and groin.
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