Cancer charities feel the Jade Goody effect

Surge in demand for support and advice services after reality TV star announces cervical cancer is terminal

Cancer charities have seen a surge in demand for their support and advice services since reality TV star Jade Goody announced that her cervical cancer was terminal.

Jo's Trust, the cervical cancer charity, said the number of questions sent to its online medical advice service doubled in February, with requests for information about cervical cancer screening forming a large proportion of these.

Robert Music, director of Jo's Trust, said more people had joined the charity's online support forum in February than in any other month since it was set up.

Calls to Macmillan Cancer Support's helpline, which has a team of specialist nurses to advise cancer patients, increased by 50 per cent on Monday after Goody's much-publicised wedding at the weekend. A spokeswoman said many of these calls were about cervical cancer screening.

Cancer - You Are Not Alone, which provides information and counselling to cancer sufferers, said it had received more calls than usual as a result of press coverage of Goody's condition.

A spokeswoman said: "Jade's story is opening young people's eyes to cervical cancer and the need to get tested. I wouldn't be surprised if we became a lot busier during the next few months."

It is not yet clear whether Goody's story will prompt increased donations to cancer charities. A Macmillan spokeswoman said: "It's too early to tell whether the publicity will affect our fundraising. We hope it will have a positive effect, but in this economic climate we can't rely on it."

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