- Video report by ITV News Correspondent Damon Green
The Coronation Street storyline around the death of Sinead Osbourne from cervical cancer has seen an increase in testing.
GPs report they have had all their screening appointments booked up while drama has played out on the cobbles.
Sinead, played by Katie McGlynn, was diagnosed with the disease while pregnant, forcing her to decide whether to terminate the baby to get treated or await their birth, resulting in delayed treatment.
In Friday's night's episode, the Sinead story reaches its climax, as she has discovered on her wedding day that the cancer has returned, following what she thought was successful treatment.
The legacy of the storyline, which received expert advice from Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, will live on.
Thanks to the work of writers and advisers, the soap opera has helped raised awareness of the cancer and the fact it can happen during pregnancy, something many were not aware of.
Sinead was bleeding between her periods in the show, which is the main symptom of cervical cancer, which many hope will strike a chord with anyone worried about it.
Over the last 21 years, screening numbers have been falling, so getting a mainstream audience for cervical cancer has been a great boon.
The role of the script advisers was multifaceted, as they helped with a plethora of issues, from how appointments would play out to the mental impact on the patient and their family during treatment.
Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has seen calls to its helpline grow over the course of the storyline, as well as starting numerous more private conversations.
“We were really pleased that Coronation Street asked us to advise on this storyline and throughout the year they’ve been committed to portraying it as accurately as possible. It has been great to collaborate and represent a relatively rare cancer on such a huge platform,” the trust said.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer? There are some recognised symptoms associated with cervical cancer that you should be aware of, say Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. These include:
- Abnormal bleeding: during or after sexual intercourse, or between periods
- Post menopausal bleeding: if you are not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or have stopped it for six weeks or more
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
- Lower back pain.
“Cervical screening is the best protection we have against cervical cancer, preventing 75% of cancers from ever developing. You’re invited for your first cervical screening (smear test) just before you turn 25. You’re invited every three years until you’re 49, then every five years until you are 65," Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust say.
"Cervical screening is highly effective, but it’s also important to be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer. Not all women diagnosed with cervical cancer have symptoms, which is why it’s really important to attend cervical screening when invited. But, whatever your age, it’s equally important to be aware of the symptoms."