Jade Goody's cancer story shocked the nation. Here we outline how the mum-of-two's cancer developed.
Jade Goody was a reality star who rose to fame after her stint on Big Brother. She sadly died in 2009 from cervical cancer but she did a tremendous job in raising awareness and encouraging women to get checked.
Unfortunately, a recent survey found that a large proportion of women are still too scared to go for a smear test as they are too embarrassed by the procedure. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust surveyed 2,000 young women about their experiences of smear tests and more than 900 of the women said they had never attended or delayed their smear test.
71 per cent of those surveyed said they felt scared of the procedure will three-quarters said they felt vulnerable.
Shortly after Jade’s death the number of women seeking advice increased by a third but the numbers are now in decline.
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 three years.
Here is a timeline of 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. In 2016 854 people died from cervical cancer in England.
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.
Jade received treatment for an ovarian cyst.
After being rushed to hospital with stomach pains, Jade was tested for ovarian cancer and bowel cancer, but gets the all clear.
Boyfriend Jack Tweed and Jade announced they were expecting a baby, but Jade miscarried a few weeks later when 12 weeks pregnant.
Jade said she was losing blood when she went to the toilet – something that had been happening for a while – but doctors said she had had another miscarriage.
Photographers snap Jade coming out of the doctor’s – she told them she is undergoing tests for cancer.
Jade was rushed to hospital after collapsing and losing blood. She was kept in while experts tried to find the cause and she revealed it was the fourth time this had happened over 4 years.
Later the same month, two days after entering the Indian version of Big Brother, Jade was called into the Diary Room and told she had cervical cancer.
Jade revealed that she had had abnormal cells removed from her cervix three times in the past.
She also admitted that she ignored a letter saying abnormal results had been found from a smear test a fourth 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.
After having a hysterectomy, Jade began a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She then discovered the cancer was at an advanced stage and faced a year of chemotherapy.
Jade experienced more stomach pains and had to pull out of a pantomime for emergency kidney blockage treatment. She discharged herself from hospital, but was taken back in after becoming ill and collapsing.
Jade started an experimental drug, Topotecan, to fight her illness, but doctors confirmed that the chemotherapy hadn’t been as effective as they’d hoped. She had a golfball-sized tumour removed from her bowel.
On Valentine’s Day, Jade’s publicist confirmed she now only had months left to live, but by the end of February, she was admitted to a hospice after suffering hallucinations caused by her medication.
Jade had an operation to remove a bowel blockage that was causing her pain and then returned to her home in Essex in an ambulance, with husband Jack Tweed by her side. Her sons visited her regularly, but early in the morning on 22 March – Mother’s Day – Jade lost her fight for life.
Were you touched by Jade Goody’s story? Did it encourage you to get checked? Head over to our Facebook page to join the conversation and share your stories – we’d love to hear from you