Smear tests increase after Goody's death

Wednesday 03 June 2009 17.39
Cancer testing - 80% of women tested at some point
Cancer testing - 80% of women tested at some point

A new survey suggests that over 50% of women are more likely to go for a smear test following coverage of Jade Goody's battle with cervical cancer.

The research was conducted for the Marie Keating Foundation.

Three in four women questioned said the reality TV star's fight against the disease would make a difference in detection rates.

The Chief Executive of the Foundation, Lillian McGovern, said the findings indicated Jade Goody's decision to go public with her illness had deeply touched Irish women.

In total, 80% of women say they have had a smear test at some stage in their lives but just over half of those under the age of 35 have been tested.

Lillian McGovern described this aspect of the survey as worrying.

She said cervical cancer was a slow, progressive disease which was very treatable if detected in its early stages and that more needed to be done to encourage younger women to get tested.

There is a high level of awareness about the national cervical screening programme but fewer women know about vaccines that can help prevent the condition.

This is particularly the case among the 18-24 age group.

60% of respondents said Jade Goody's experience would make them more likely to get vaccinated, with over 85% saying they would ensure their daughters got the jab, even if they had to pay for it themselves.

The research was conducted to mark the end of Cervical Cancer Awareness month.

500 women over the age of 18 were surveyed across the country last week by Millward Brown IMS.