Kylie Minogue's breast cancer triggered unnecessary breast checks

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Washington, June 5 : Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue's breast cancer diagnosis may have done more harm than good by prompting young low risk women to undergo needless investigations for the disease, according to a new study.

The study by University of Melbourne has revealed that use of mammography and breast ultrasound procedures soared by over 30 percent among low risk women aged 25-44 in the 6 months after Minogue's diagnosis.

The number of women aged 25-34 years undergoing breast biopsies also increased.

The team led by Dr Margaret Kelaher found that breast imaging in 25-34 year old women rose by 33 per cent, breast biopsies in women 25-34 raised by 46 per cent, breast imaging in women aged 35-44 rose by 25 per cent and biopsies in women aged 35-44 increased by 37 per cent.

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

"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 messages and the confidence of women and their doctors in early breast cancer detection recommendations," she added.

The study said that increase in testing of women at low risk of developing the cancer did more harm than good, as it lowered the capacity of the system to deal with high-risk cases.

However, Royal Melbourne Hospital consultant surgeon Julie Miller said there was no need for routine screening of women under 40 who did not have symptoms or a strong family history of breast cancer.

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