Public Release: 

Celebrity Deaths From Disease Can Cause Public Anxiety


Celebrity's death from cancer resulted in increased calls to CancerBACUP

The death of a celebrity from a disease can cause the public to face up to their own mortality, which can lead them to seek emotional support and reassurance, say CancerBACUP and researchers from the Royal Free NHS Trust and the Cancer Public Health Unit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In their letter in this week's BMJ the authors report that people were substantially affected by the death of Linda McCartney in April of this year. The daily calls to the CancerBACUP telephone information service about breast cancer rose by 64 per cent at the time of Ms McCartney's death. The authors conclude that the death of a celebrity from a disease which is so publicly explored, may well force women to face their own mortality. They say that, perhaps, no matter how well a woman copes with a diagnosis of breast cancer, anxiety is never far from the surface.

Contact: Anne-Marie Jones, Press Officer, CancerBACUP, London email:

Jean Mossman, Chief Executive, CancerBACUP, London email:


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