London, August 26 (ANI): Scottish officials have noticed a 20 per cent rise in cervical smear tests linking it to Jade Goody's high-profile battle against the disease.
The British reality TV star, who lost her life to cervical cancer aged 27 earlier this year, left a lasting legacy, prompting tens of thousands of Scottish women to attend examinations.
Authorities observed more than 45,000 cervical smears were processed north of the Border in 2008-09, the highest number for almost a decade.
"The rise in uptake coincides with the HPV immunisation campaign, which promotes the importance of cervical screening, and the very sad illness and death of Jade Goody, who worked hard to raise awareness of cervical cancer," the Telegraph quoted Shona Robison, Scottish public health minister, as saying.
"This is clear proof that being more open about this illness and the need for screening can and does encourage women to come forward," Robison added.
The largest increase in tests was recorded among women aged between 20 and 24 with the figures jumping from 50.2 per cent to 56.4 per cent, while for those between 25 to 29 years of age, the leap was from 63.3 per cent to 68 per cent.
NHS statisticians confirmed this "most likely reflects the impact of the publicity surrounding Jade Goody's death from cervical cancer."
Elspeth Atkinson, Macmillan Cancer Support's director for Scotland, said: "It is good news that more women are attending for routine screening and we hope this is a trend that will continue.
"Abnormalities that are detected early by a smear test can usually be treated successfully. This is why it's also vitally important that women attend any follow up appointments for further tests." (ANI)