Kylie Minogues breast cancer tripled screening
Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer diagnosis sparked a surge in worried women being screened for the disease.
Screening tests increased by almost a third in women aged 25 to 40 in the six months after Kylie revealed she had the disease in 2005 – but no more tumours were found as a result, prompting researchers to say it was proof that many were worried unnecessarily.
Kylie was 37 when she was diagnosed with the disease, and has now successfully beaten it, but some suggest her experience made young women over-estimate their chances of suffering with the illness.
In women under 40, breast cancer is relatively rare, with one in 200 suffering with the disease. The risk rises with age to one in 10 in the over 85s.
A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology carried out by University of Melbourne found a 30 per cent increase in mammograms, and ultrasounds carried out on women aged between 25 and 44 in the six months after Kylie’s diagnosis.
Study leader Dr Margaret Kelaher, from the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne School of Population Health, said: ‘Raising women’s awareness of the need to get screened is a generally good thing.
‘But these findings suggest that thousands of additional imaging procedures and biopsies did not improve breast cancer detection among young women.
‘It appears there has been a situation where publicity has led to many low risk women using – and probably overusing – screening services.’
She added: ‘We need to improve the targeting of health messages and the confidence of women and their doctors in early breast cancer detection recommendations.’