Posted in Debate, families, Health, sex, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Writing

But Mum “how can you be sick when your’re a celebrity?”

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.



Committed to the education of children and the health and human rights of women and mankind. I also enjoy taking photographs and sometimes I write poetry.

10 thoughts on “But Mum “how can you be sick when your’re a celebrity?”

  1. after reading this i think the age needs to be lower for cerival smears … and infact i am sure i got them earlier than that when in the Raf using Raf doctors

  2. I am actually rather surprised the take-up rate is as high as you say. I had always assumed it would be lower.

    It is very sad indeed re Jade (not that I know who she is really but it is sad when anyone dies that young) and being a celebrity almost certainly puts you at greater risk of developing life threatening illnesses as they tend to live and play fast and hard. But yes, I think if you look at the glossy magazines or watch them on TV, these people do not seem quite real. But they are just the same as the rest of us biologically.

    But hopefully, whilst this is an awful time for Jade, it will do something to raise the profile of cervical screening and remind people, like me, who haven’t been for years and years that they should stop finding excuses and go.

  3. To Reluctant Blogger

    Thanks for the honest reply.
    I think you raise a good point baout celebrity life.One that I had not thought off.
    I am surprised by your honesty re your own health checks, yet not in a way.
    You would think me being a nurse I would be the first to be “sensible” and go for all my screening. Well, I do get there eventually but I always put it off.
    It doesn’t really matter how many children you have.
    You just don’t want to go.
    You should go, because of the one thing which I am reminded about may yrs ago. One treatment for cervical cancer -radiotherapy can be used is far far worse than any screening. Screening is a two minute breeze compared with the former.
    Don’t let yourself get to the later. When you get back from Australia make the appt PLEASE.
    Just for peace of mind if nothing else.
    And remember people who do screening don’t bat an eye lid, they do it day in and day out.
    Say what you want and get them too respect your dignity.
    This is what I now do.
    Don’t delay too long.

  4. To Sally

    I think the age should be brought back to 21.
    Lets hope the next generation of young people will have had the vaccine and smear tests will be relagated to our daughters perception as some kind of weird torture their mothers and grandmothers endured, long since gone.

  5. I think the attraction of celebrity for the young is that it provides two things that are particularly attractive (especially during teenage years) – namely affirmation and money. I suspect it is the latter that is linked with immunity, because money brings power and a degree of freedom. How can someone with so many options and more freedom than many of us be suddenly restricted by ill health. A death sentence in such a young woman is always tragic, but to some teenagers must seem more puzzling because she must have seemed above the restrictions that the rest of us mere mortals have to face.

    The whole story reinforces the notion that we must “seize the day”! Tomorrow may be too late.

  6. Wise men say perceptions are transient. Quite true, my lookup to Jade changed over time! Her propensity towards publicity was by no means demeaning to her own persona. To buttress it, I can only say in effect she played the roles of celebrity, wife and over all dotting mother as required effortlessly. To her, she accepted the reality of death that was staring at her, yet unnerved she rolled on with her wishes effortlessly. In essense she embodied vitality of life and death. I put off my hat for you Lady Goodie! On the same note, I believe it will again bring good attention to malaise called Cancer while we relentlessly debate on AIDS.

    BTW, I liked your blog! So English, but so elegant.

  7. Lovely and equally elegant prose Arindon Sinha, thanks for dropping by. I loved and especially agree with the last comment about Aids.
    Jade could be criticised for making death so public, as untasteful as some apects of her behaviour and her life.
    But I too admire anyone who faces this terrible illness with courage and dignity, bringing this to our attention, and yes, I admire Jade for doing this too.
    In her death and dying she somehow redemmed herself for the character she displayed in the past.
    No-one deserves to die at 27, like this.
    My heart goes out to her boys and family.
    Thanks for your contribution and for your encouragment in my humblle literay efforts.

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