How Jade Goody’s cancer developed

It’s been a year since Jade died of cervical cancer last year – but her death still feels like a shock.

However, figures from the NHS prove that Jade did a great job in raising awareness of cervical cancer. In the last year, the number of women aged 25-29 asking for a smear test shot up by a third – meaning 37,000 extra women in their late 20s being tested for cervical cancer.

The total number of women aged 25-64 going for smear tests (the age group that are offered smear tests by the NHS) went up by 12 per cent.

At the time of Jade’s death, it seemed as though she went from being healthy to extremely ill in a very short period of time – which might have made you worry about your own health. But Jade revealed shortly before her death that she’d been having symptoms for 3 years.

Here we show how Jade’s cancer developed.


Jade has abnormal cells removed from her cervix, at the age of 15.

According to the NHS Cancer Screening Programme, this is incredibly rare. In 2006 only 54 women under the age of 25 died from cervical cancer, and no one under the age of 20 has died from the disease in the last 2 years.

Symptoms of cervical cancer at a young age could include abnormal bleeding (such as between periods and after sex) and abnormal discharge. However, these symptoms could be caused by a number of things, and don’t necessarily mean you’ve got cervical cancer.

March 2004

Jade is treated for an ovarian cyst

November 2006

After being rushed to hospital with stomach pains, Jade is tested for ovarian cancer and bowel cancer, but gets the all clear.

May 2007

Boyfriend Jack Tweed and Jade announce they are expecting a baby, but Jade miscarries a few weeks later when 12 weeks pregnant

September 2007

Jade says she’s losing blood when she goes to the toilet – something that’s been happening for a while – but doctors say she’s had another miscarriage.

February 2008

Photographers snap Jade coming out of the doctor’s – she tells them she is undergoing tests for cancer

August 2008

Jade’s rushed to hospital after collapsing and losing blood. She’s kept in while experts try to find the cause and she says it’s the 4th time this has happened over 4 years.

Later the same month, 2 days after entering the Indian version of Big Brother, Jade is called into the Diary Room and told she has cervical cancer.

Jade reveals that she has had abnormal cells removed from her cervix 3 times in the past.

She also admits that she ignored a letter saying abnormal results had been found from a smear test a 4th time, because she was scared to go back to the hospital.

The NHS Cancer Screening Programme says: An abnormality in a smear test doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got cancer, sometimes it just means you’ve got an abnormality that can go away on its own.

Abnormalities are split into 4 levels, and even the most serious can be treated before cells become cancerous.

If you get an abnormal result from a smear test it is essential you go back to your hospital.

September 2008

After having a hysterectomy, Jade begins a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She then discovers the cancer is at an advanced stage and faces a year of chemotherapy.

January 2009

Jade experiences more stomach pains and has to pull out of a pantomime for emergency kidney blockage treatment. She discharges herself from hospital, but is taken back in after becoming ill and collapsing.

February 2009

Jade starts on an experimental drug, Topotecan, to fight her illness, but doctors confirm that the chemotherapy hasn’t been as effective as they’d hoped, and a golfball-sized tumour is removed from Jade’s bowel.

On Valentine’s Day, Jade’s publicist confirms she now only has months left to live, but by the end of February, she’s admitted to a hospice after suffering hallucinations caused by her medication.

March 2009

Jade has an operation to remove a bowel blockage that was causing her pain and then returns to her home in Essex in an ambulance, with husband Jack Tweed by her side. Her sons visit her regularly, but early in the morning on 22 March – Mother’s Day – Jade loses her fight for life.

Where to next?

Jade’s life on film
More information on Jade Goody and cervical cancer

Your stories

‘Jade made me realise cancer can affect anyone!’
‘Jade Goody’s cancer battle saved my life’

More information

NHS Cancer Screening Programme

Cancer charities

Cancer Research UK
Marie Curie Cancer