The 'Goody effect' boosts screening

The number of eligible women aged 25 to 64 who attended cervical screening in England rose by almost 12 per cent in the last year, NHS Information Centre data reveal.

A total of 3.6 million women were screened in 2008/9, up from 3.2 million in 2007/8.

This is the first time since 2002 that the percentage of eligible women screened at least once in the previous five years has increased.

The increase in coverage is prominent in younger women. The proportion of 25- to 49-year-olds screened every three to three-and-a-half years rose to 73 per cent from 69 per cent. The proportion of women aged 50 to 64 screened was almost unchanged, at 80 per cent.

Julietta Patnick, director of NHS Cancer Screening Pro-grammes, said: 'Over the past decade the number of women aged 25 to 35 years old who accept their screening invitations has been declining - we have been working hard to address this and it is pleasing to see the increase in uptake.

'Much of this increase can be attributed to the media cover-age of Jade Goody.'

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of health infor-mation, added: 'Media coverage of Jade Goody's tragic plight brought important cervical cancer awareness messages into living rooms across the UK.'

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