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Uni and cancer charity investigate ‘Jade Goody effect’

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Summary of story from Media-Newswire, 09.1.11.

The Bath Spa University in England is teaming up with a cancer charity to investigate how young women responded to the media coverage of Jade Goody’s death from cervical cancer.

London-born Goody came into the public spotlight while appearing on the Channel 4 reality TV show ‘Big Brother’ in 2002.

The mother-of-two also appeared on the Indian version of the show, in 2008, but withdrew early after being told on-air she had cervical cancer.  The disease metastasised in the following months and she died in March 2009.

Around 2,800 women are diagnosed with the malignant disease each year in the UK, NHS figures show. It’s often diagnosed in younger women and is the second most common cancer in women aged under 35, following breast cancer.

Senior lecturers in Media Communications, Dr Daniel Ashton and Dr Rebecca Feasey, have begun researching what has been termed the ‘Jade Goody effect’.

This refers to a massive surge in the number of young women who came forward for cancer screening after daily coverage of Jade’s illness for weeks in the media.

The academics will be working with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to women and their families affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.

Their aim is to find out what young female tabloid readers and cervical cancer sufferers, in particular, think of Jade’s portrayal in the media.

Dr Feasey said: ‘Among our preliminary findings is the view that Jade did not look ill or dying in the ‘OK! Magazine’ photos of her.

‘Respondents were either disbelieving of her diagnosis or negative about the unrealistic images being perpetuated in the celebrity gossip sector.’

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