Cancer Research UK launches Race for Life in memory of Jade Goody as requests for smear tests up a third in young women

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK today (Monday) launched a special Race for Life event in memory of Jade Goody, to take place in the reality star's adopted home county of Essex, on Sunday 6th June. A year on from her death, Jade’s bridesmaids are calling on women to enter the commemorative event.

Jade's tragic story has had a huge effect on those in her age group (25 to 29) as figures1 reveal the number of young women asking their doctors for smear tests shot up by a third after the reality star was diagnosed with cervical cancer. This led to an extra 37,000 women in their late twenties having smear tests outside the screening programme.

In the same period, the total number of women aged 25 to 64 being screened throughout the country rose by 12 per cent.

Jennifer Smith, one of Jade's best friends and bridesmaids, said: "It's been a year since Jade died and we all miss her everyday. We know that Jade's cancer battle raised awareness of cervical cancer, especially among younger women, and we’re eager to ensure that more people are educated on the signs, symptoms and risks of cancer.

"Cancer Research UK's Race for Life series raises around £60m a year for vital research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. We are honoured to launch a Basildon Race for Life event in memory of Jade."

Jade Goody was diagnosed with cervical cancer in September 2008 and died from the disease in March 2009. Between March 2008 and March 2009, 151,087 women between 25 and 29 years old had smear tests outside the cervical screening programme in England. This compared with 113,948 women who were screened between March 2007 and 2008 - an increase of a third.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: "Not only has Jade’s story given women a stark reminder of the importance of going for screening when invited, it has also empowered them to go and ask for advice if they think that something may be wrong.

"This huge increase in women being screened outside the programme proves that women are now more aware of cervical cancer and the importance of smear tests - her legacy will save lives.

"But importantly, this number also includes tests initiated by their doctor, showing that Jade’s story also brought this disease to the front of health professionals’ minds too."

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in memory of Jade Goody is taking place in Basildon, Essex on Sunday 6 June at 5.30pm. Jade's bridesmaids, Jennifer Smith, Kate Jackson, Charlene Hull and Caroline Roberts, will open the event with a memorial speech followed by a two minute silence before joining local women to walk, jog or run 5k to help beat cancer. 

The charity hopes that 2,000 women will enter the specially organised event which coincides with what would have been Jade's 29th birthday weekend. Women can enter at www.raceforlife.org - registration for the event opens today.

There are over 230 Race for Life events taking place across the UK with women of all ages shapes and sizes invited to enter and walk, jog or run 5k to raise money to help fund Cancer Research UK's life-saving work. Enter now at www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111.

ENDS

Notes to Editor

  1. These figures are taken from the annual reports on cervical screening from the NHS Information Centre. They relate to the number of women screened outside the programme and this is defined as women who have requested screening themselves and women who are invited/recalled by their GPs.

About Race for Life 2010

  • Over 230 events taking place across the UK from beginning May until end July 2010 
  • Entry fee is £12.99
  • Enter by visiting www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111
  • Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 2010 is supported by Tesco, Nivea, Go Ahead and Diamond.