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Jade Goody's Tragic Cervical Cancer Story

Posted by Emilienne Rebel on

I have so much love & respect for Jade; such a brave young mum who shared her story and saved many. 

"The tumour was so big I had it falling out of me while I was on the loo"

Jade Goody spent four years fearing something was wrong and pleading with doctors to work out what it was.

By the time the cervical cancer was found it had spread outside of her uterus, meaning her chances of survival went from 50 per cent to zero.

Just seven months after being diagnosed with cancer, the 27-year-old died.

Jade's story is unique not just because it is rare for someone so young to die from the disease, but because of the symptoms she suffered.

The Big Brother star was just 15 and not sexually active when she first contracted the deadly human papilloma virus (HPV) and abnormal cells were found during a smear test, reports The Mirror 

She had them removed, but two years later they returned and a second operation took place to burn away the cells.

But according to Jade, doctors were against removing any more of her cervix in case it became too short to carry future pregnancies.

"They said I was okay, though," she told Now magazine.

Three times she had rogue cells removed, but when a letter asking her to return for a fourth time, she ignored it due to fear.

"When I heard I had more abnormal cells I thought, 'this is the fourth time I've been told I need to have the same operation now,'" she told heat magazine.

"Once you have them burnt off they shouldn't come back, I was too scared."

In 2004 and 2006 she was rushed to hospital with stomach pains and heavy bleeding and tested for ovarian and bowel cancer respectively. Both came back clear.

In March 2007 she was delighted when she fell pregnant with boyfriend Jack Tweed, then 19.

But unbeknown to Jade, the cancer was already growing and she miscarried at 12 weeks. It would be another 14 months before she was finally diagnosed.

She told doctors she'd been losing blood for a while, but it was written off as a second miscarriage. But Jade knew something was seriously wrong.

"The thing is the tumour was so big I had it falling out of me while I was on the loo," she later said.

"I had black stuff falling out of me. It was like tar. I remember being at the doctor and sobbing: 'What’s wrong with me?”’

That August she collapsed and bled heavily again, the fourth time it had happened in four years.

"I was doubled over in pain, losing clots of blood again. There was blood all over my bathroom and all over my stairs.

"I was on my own and I had to call for an ambulance. I was in too much pain to walk down the stairs," she told Now magazine.

"I’d get these really bad pains, like a really bad period pain. I’d get spasms in my la-la and my stomach.

"They were so severe, I couldn’t walk. I’d be too weak to stand up. Blood would just come out."

Once admitted to hospital, doctors scrabbled to find what was causing her symptoms.

She said: "I lost more blood, about three big clots. I was glad they saw that, to be honest.

"I remember being so frustrated because they tried to tell me it was a heavy period. I thought: ‘Don’t insult my intelligence.’ When they gave me food, I threw up and fell off the bed."

Despite suffering pains in her leg and blood loss - both symptoms of cervical cancer - doctors could find nothing wrong and offered Jade a smear test before she was discharged with her doctor's permission to fly to India and compete in the local version of Big Brother.

But on day two, the news she hadn't been expecting came as the cameras rolled. At first she thought the call from her consultant was a hoax.

"I asked the doctor what hospital I was born in. When he answered right, I thought: ‘Oh my God, it’s real.’ Then he said: ‘Jade, you’ve got cancer.’ The last thing on this planet I expected was for them to tell me that,'" she said.

"I knew it wasn’t a joke then. My heart sank."

Despite promising not to film the Diary Room conversation, the producers of Bigg Boss turned the cameras back on for the final call between Jade and her agent, with her heartbreaking grief captured on camera.

Once back in the UK, doctors told her she'd had cancer for around two years, that it was the size of a tangerine and had eaten more than half of her womb.

She underwent a hysterectomy and was warned that the advanced stage of the cancer meant she'd need a year of chemotherapy and had a 50 per cent chance of survival.

Sadly, after an eight-hour operation to remove the tumour, surgeons lifted her womb and found the cancer had spread to the tissue behind it.

At that point her odds of survival plummeted to zero.

Determined to stay strong for sons Bobby and Freddy, then aged five and four, she refused to hear full details about her illness.

Doctors feared she wouldn't be able to cope with a terminal diagnosis, and when her hair fell out, her mum Jackie had to persuade her to look in the mirror.

"Oh, no Mummy, no. I look like I’ve got cancer," she wept in heart-wrenching scenes on her Living series, Jade Goody: The Next Chapter.

In a bid to make as much money for her sons as possible, she enrolled in a pantomime for January 2009 but was forced to pull out when she suffered a kidney blockage and had a golf-ball sized tumour removed from her bowel.

"I just want to carry on being to the boys and to myself normal and I'm quite naive with the whole cancer thingy," she told Phillip Schofield on This Morning.

"I haven't done any research or anything and I don't want to know. I only know what I need to know, which is this is my medication and this is that, this is when I get better.

"I don't want to know the ins and outs and because it's too much for my brain to take it in. It really is."

Jade Goody: Cancer charity hopes documentary serves as 'a reminder'. Link to BBC below:

The UK's largest cervical cancer charity has said it hopes a documentary about Jade Goody will serve as "a reminder" of the impact of the disease.

The finale of Channel 4's three-part Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain aired on Wednesday.

Goody's illness and death in 2009, aged just 27, led to a 12% spike in women getting NHS smear tests at the time.

But Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said screening rates are now lower than ever and advised viewers to get checked.

"The episode is a new story for a younger generation and for others it's a reminder about the impact cervical cancer can have," the charity's head of communications Kate Sanger said.

"It has been fantastic to see that the documentary is generating conversations about cervical screening, especially on social media. Cervical screening saves lives and at a time when attendance is falling it is great to see people sharing support, tips and talking about the importance of the test.

"However, we are asking those watching the programme to be sensitive to the fact that while for many it is a straightforward test, for others cervical screening can be difficult."

The 'Jade Goody Effect'

Research published by Jo's last year found almost one in 10 women were only offered times they couldn't make when they last tried to book an appointment, while 7% were told no appointments were available.

While most women get their smear tests at GPs, many have opted in the past to get them at sexual health and community clinics, which offer a range of services, walk-in appointments, shorter waiting times, and don't require registration.

Yet the number of women in England receiving cervical screenings at sexual health and community clinics fell by 52% between 2013-14 and 2016-17, according to the trust.

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