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Kylie's breast cancer triggered a surge of over 30 percent in breast imaging of low-risk women
Date:6/4/2008

Kylie's breast cancer triggered a surge of over 30 per cent in breast imaging of low risk women, says new University of Melbourne study.

Use of mammography and breast ultrasound procedures soared by over 30 per cent among women aged 25-44 in the six months following Kylie Minogue's breast cancer diagnosis, says a new study from the University of Melbourne.

There was also a sharp rise in the number of women aged 25-34 years who underwent breast biopsies but this surge in screening activity did not lead to the detection of more cases of breast cancer.

The study, published this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology, is the first to use Medicare data to examine the impact of the intense publicity that surrounded this announcement on breast imaging, biopsies and operations to remove breast tumors.

Study leader Dr Margaret Kelaher, from the University of Melbourne's Melbourne School of Population Health, and colleagues found that in the six months following Minogue's diagnosis in April 2005:

  • Breast imaging in 25-34 year old women rose by 33 per cent;
  • Breast biopsies in women 25-34 increased by 46 per cent;
  • Breast imaging in women aged 35-44 rose by 25 per cent;
  • Biopsies in women aged 35-44 increased by 37 per cent.

However, the rates of operations to remove breast cancers did not change significantly, suggesting that the flurry of screening activity led to many "false positives".

"Raising women's awareness of the need to get screened is a generally good thing," Dr Kelaher said.

"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.

"We need to improve the targeting of health mess
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Contact: Janine Sim-Jones
janinesj@unimelb.edu.au
61-040-089-3378
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert

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