Monday, March 23, 2009

Jade Goody dies at 27 from cervical cancer

With all that's in the news about the HPV vaccine Gardasil and the information that cervical cancer has a very high cure rate if caught early, to read of a young woman's death from cervical cancer is very, very sad.

For those who don't know, Jade Goody was a 27-year-old celebrity in the UK as a result of her appearance on their version of Big Brother, and some ill-chosen words and actions that got her thrown off the show. Ms Goody cashed in on her celebrity and when she found out that her cancer was terminal, she used her status to earn as much money as she could. She did this by selling the rights to her wedding and, ultimately, her death, from what I understand.

Many people were highly critical of Ms Goody's actions, but I have to admit. If I had two young children, as Ms Goody did, and I knew I was dying, I think I may have done anything and everything I could to ensure that there would at least be enough money to support them after my death. I can't fault her for that. Not at all.

If any good comes out of this, and people do try hard to find good things coming out of tragedy, is that Ms Goody's public illness has put a face on cervical cancer. She put a face and a name to the disease. People now know that it does really happen and it could be to anyone, even someone you love. Now, it's been reported that the cervical cancer screening tests, Pap smears, have increased significantly across the UK. Women heard and saw what Ms Goody had to say.

The HPV vaccine is another option for women. If you're not going to have the vaccine or you are against it, you can be as effective by going for regular Pap smears, which can detect cells at their precancerous stages, before they become cancer.

Don't let a preventable cancer, in many cases, take another life. Learn from Ms Goody's life and death. Please.

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