Use of breast cancer screening and treatment services by Australian women aged 25-44 years following Kylie Minogue's breast cancer diagnosis

Int J Epidemiol. 2008 Dec;37(6):1326-32. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyn090. Epub 2008 May 30.


Objective: To examine the effects of the publicity surrounding Kylie Minogue's diagnosis with breast cancer on doctor-referred breast imaging, image-guided biopsy, and cancer excisions among a low-risk population of women in Australia. Method We examine changes in unilateral and bilateral breast imaging, image-guided breast biopsies, and surgical excisions of breast cancer before and after the announcement of Kylie Minogue's diagnosis with breast cancer in May 2005. The study included procedures provided through the Australian public health system to women aged 25-44 years from October 2004 and June 2006.

Results: The odds of women aged 25-44 years undergoing imaging procedures increased by 20% in the first and second quarters after the Minogue publicity, compared to the preceding two quarters. The volume of biopsies als increased but the biopsy rate, measured as a proportion of imaging procedures, did not change among women aged 25-34 years and decreased among women aged 35-44 years. The volume of operations to excise breast cancers did not change for either age group. Compared to the 6 month period before the publicity, there was a large and significant decrease in the odds that an excision would follow biopsy (25-34 years: OR 95% CI=0.69, 0.48-0.98; 35-44 years: OR 95% CI=0.83, 0.72-0.95).

Conclusions: High-publicised illnesses may affect both consumer and provider behaviour. Although they present opportunities to improve public health, they also have the potential to adversely impact the appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of service delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Biopsy
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Famous Persons*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography
  • Mass Media
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Women / psychology*