Kylie Minogue’s cancer triggered 30 percent surge in imaging

June 5th, 2008 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 5 (IANS) Australian pop singer and actress Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer triggered a 30 percent surge in breast imaging of low risk women, according to a new study. Many more women between 25 and 34 years underwent breast biopsies - but all of this did not result in greater detection of such cases.

The study is the first to rely on medicare data to examine the impact of publicity and hype that surrounded this announcement on breast imaging, biopsies and operations to remove tumours.

But the rates of operations to remove breast cancers did not change significantly, suggesting that the flurry of screening activity led to many “false positives”, study leader Margaret Kelaher of the University of Melbourne found.

Despite this, Kelaher felt that “raising women’s awareness of the need to get screened is a generally good thing”.

Kelaher, however, suggested that the influx of low-risk women into the screening system may have damaging effects by reducing the system’s capacity to deal with higher risk women.

Kelaher said Kylie had been a great ambassador for breast cancer awareness, but the publicity surrounding her case highlighted the need for better efforts at “managing the message”.

“The visibility of a celebrity’s illness provides an opportunity to address a huge health problem like breast cancer,” she said.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Epidemiology.

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