Expert warns against cancer 'complacency'

Women have been urged to remain on their guard against cancer, after an expert observed the surge in screening witnessed after the death of reality TV personality Jade Goody had eased.

Patrick Shervington, chief executive of advisory group Women's Health Concern, said the 2009 death of the former Big Brother contestant prompted a sharp rise in the number of women seeking professional advice.

"There was a huge press interest - which did lead to a very steep rise in screening - and inevitably it has died down," he explained. "The important thing is that women must not become complacent."

Mr Shervington added that publicity - particularly newspaper and magazine coverage - plays a crucial role in boosting cancer awareness, but also stressed the importance of openness and communication between women.

Last week, Office for National Statistics data revealed a 19.2 per cent increase in cervical cancer between 2008 and 2009, with the rise in diagnoses attributed partly to the media focus on Jade Goody.

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