Kylie Minogue’s life was derailed back in 2005 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36. The diagnosis had immediate implications for the pop star – she delayed the remainder of her Showgirl: The Greatest Hits Tour and pulled out of Glastonbury that year.
Thankfully, the pop singer was given the all-clear following surgery and treatment the same year, but she did reveal doctors had mistakenly given her the all-clear before her diagnosis.
While appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2008, Kylie said: “Because someone is in a white coat and using big medical instruments doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right.”
This was not end the story, however, as 10 years on from that distressing episode, Kylie admitted her chances of becoming a mother were dashed after breast cancer.
The singer announced earlier this year that motherhood wasn’t something that was on her mind at the time and the cancer “changed everything”.
Speaking to the Sunday Times Style magazine, she reflected on this life-changing realisation: “When cancer strikes, you have to consider all that. Trust me, there’s a point when the next person says, ‘Well there are many options’, you want to scream.
She added: “I don’t want to dwell on it, obviously, but I wonder what they would have been like. Everyone will say there are options, but I don’t know. I’m 50 now, and I’m more at ease with my life.”
Facing up to the reality was not easy for the singer, however, who admitted having visions of what her child would be like.
According to the NHS, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer.
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About one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime but there’s a good chance of recovery if it’s detected at an early stage, notes the NHS.
“For this reason, it’s vital that women check their breasts regularly for any changes and always have any changes examined by a GP,” explained the health body.
How to spot it
Breast cancer can have several symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.
Although most breast lumps are not cancerous, it’s always best to have them checked by a doctor, advises the NHS.
You should also see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms:
- A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- Discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
- A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- A rash on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
What happens when you visit your GP
After examining your breasts, a GP may refer you to a specialist breast cancer clinic for further tests.
This might include breast screening (mammography) or taking a small sample of breast tissue to be examined under a microscope (a biopsy), the NHS explains.
Am I at risk?
The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, making it difficult to say why one woman may develop breast cancer and another may not.
However, as the NHS points out, there are risk factors known to affect your likelihood of developing breast cancer – some of these you cannot do anything about, but there are some you can change.
Drinking alcohol, for example, increases the risk of getting breast cancer, and a large-scale report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) suggests drinking just one glass of wine or another alcoholic drink a day increases breast cancer risk.
If you have experienced the menopause and are overweight or obese, you may also be more at risk of developing breast cancer, notes the NHS.
Genetic factors may also influence your risk, including:
- Family history
- Previous breast cancer or lump
- Having a dense breast tissue