Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Jade Goody helps smear tests soar

Jade Goody
Jade Goody was confirmed with cervical cancer last August

The media coverage of Jade Goody's cancer diagnosis has helped increase the number of women coming forward for cervical screening in Edinburgh.

The reality TV star was confirmed with the disease last August.

The latest figures showed there has been a 30% rise in the number of women taking smear tests in Lothian and the Borders, compared to the previous year.

NHS Lothian said the publicity has had a significant effect and that early treatment could help save lives.

The NHS Lothian lab processed 41,677 tests from May and October 2008, compared to 32,095 for May to October 2007.

Dr Sue Payne, NHS Lothian public health consultant, said: "It is hard to be definitive about why more women are accepting our invitation to attend for cervical screening.

"The media coverage of Jade Goody's tragic illness may have been a factor, as perhaps has been our work with specific GP practices with lower participation rates and the HPV vaccination campaign.

"I would urge all women invited to take part in the programme to do so. If we find a problem early, treatment can be less radical and more successful than if the issue is detected at a later stage."

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