Dying from cervical cancer, and the questions surrounding Jade Goody

Jade Goody is 27-year old British reality TV star who is dying from cervical cancer.

As part of an ongoing reality show, her last days will be filmed and broadcast.

In this day and age of the Pap smear, cervical cancer should be all but eradicated. And Ms. Goody did have Pap smears. Several, in fact. However, as gynecologist Margaret Polaneczky observes, she ignored letters to come in for followup and treatment.

Apparently, that probably would have involved an invasive intervention, to which Ms. Goody said she was “too scared to do anything about it.”

Was this the patient’s fault, by ignoring multiple abnormal Pap smear letters and failing to followup? Or could the UK medical establishment have done more? Did doctors and nurses call the patient, and was a certified letter sent?

A 27-year old woman should not die of cervical cancer. Dr. Polaneczky wonders if everything possible was done. And if not, “the tragedy is not just Jade’s, but all of ours.”

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