The title question was raised by my daughter yesterday as we listened, with great sadness,about the very public terminal illness of Jade Goody.
It was a good opportunity for me to discuss with my 14 yr old girl the perils and tragedy of cervical cancer, what it is, and what can be done to help prevent it, with our NHS Cervical screening programme and the new vaccine introduced to protect against this. A quick sexual health lesson in ten minutes, not in too much detail, but enough to get the message home and for her to think more about.
But what struck me more than anything is her perception that somehow when you are a celebrity you must be immune to these things. I explained that in spite of having money for good and early treatment, ill health and particularly cancer was no respecter of age or money. That being a celebrity did not make you immune to pain, sadness and suffering.
I don’t know hardly any of the facts in Jade’s case but it does baffle me why how one young women, who have had I believe two children and be so young, did not discover much earlier that something was wrong in that department, particularly because she had received obstetric care. Jade is 27 as I thought, it does now make me personally question the introductory screening age of 25. Is that now soon enough? (See article found after I had written that statement).
Jade must have a very aggressive tumour and in spite of what people may feel about her character, my heart goes out to her and her family. I had hoped so much for Jade that she could live and use her celebrity status to promote the sexual health of young women( up and down the uk) who needs desperate direction and guidance in this subject area, and who may have listened and be influenced by a celebrity figure. At least, it will be a reminder to us all that women can still die from Cervical cancer and do… NB: I am pleased to write that here you will find that people are being influenced to have regular cervical cytology check ups, in the light of Jade’s diagnosis, so my hopes for this are being realised.An excellent piece of news and learnt after writing this paragraph.
For my daughter, it has shown her that the glossy magazines, the clothes, money, cosmetics, fake tans and cosmopolitan life style does not guarantee anything and these people are just like us; prone to being sick and dying.I understand Jade is going to be married to her boyfriend and has purchased a wedding dress from Harrods. No doubt, a rather expensive and splendid one. But we all know that she would trade in all of this for her hair which has fallen out and her health which has been destroyed by a terrible illness no-one deserves.
I wonder, having written this,whether I dare to stray on here to talk more about this terrible cancer from a personal view yet avoid any professional pitfalls of writing about this in a public arena. Why thousands of women- I believe as many as one in three, fail to take up the offer of cervical screening. I have my ideas of course and there needs to be discussion, if more lives are to be saved and another Jade Goody can be prevented.Perhaps, I may make it a ladies only blog and would have to be sensitively written and with great care.
Onethoughtfulwoman will give this some thought.