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Cervical Screenings Fall As 'Jade Effect' Fades

Woman are being urged to get checked for cervical cancer as numbers fall again, three years after the death of Jade Goody from the disease.

The reality TV star died in 2009 aged 27.

Following Goody's diagnosis, there was a huge spike in women getting tested with more than 400,000 women having cervical cancer smears.

A new programme about Jade's Legacy, which aired on Sky Living HD on Thursday night, has found numbers are falling again following the so-called 'Jade Goody Effect'.

It spoke to five women diagnosed with cervical cancer around the same time as Goody.

Louise Hassall told the programme she put off getting the test done.

She said: "I think I was a bit frightened to go, and part of it was because it's uncomfortable, the thought of getting an internal examination and it's the case of having to shave your legs and do your bikini line - so I did put it off.

"Stupid. Very, very stupid that I didn't make the appointment and get it sorted out sooner."

Dr Safia Danovi, from Cancer Research, told Sky News: "Following Jade's diagnosis we did observe a massive surge in women going for their cervical cancer screenings and that was really, really encouraging.

"It has probably tailed off at the moment because, unfortunately, memories fade."

One of the main reasons for women missing screening appointments is embarrassment.

"We know this is the case, particularly in older women," Dr Danovi explained.

"We would urge women who feel shy or embarrassed to talk to their GP or practice nurse to put their minds at rest because an awkward 10 minutes could save their lives."

Women over the age of 49 should get tested every five years with those aged between 25 and 49 every three years.

Survival rates are very high if the disease, which often has no symptoms, is caught early. 

It is believed screening saves 5,000 lives each year in the UK.

After breast cancer, it is the second most common cancer in women aged 35 or under with three women dying from the disease every day in the UK.

Mother-of-two Goody rose to fame after appearing on Big Brother.

She was told she had cervical cancer while taking part in the Indian version of the reality show in August 2008. She died seven months later on Mother's Day.