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Kylie vows to fight back from breast cancer

Key points

• Kylie has announced that she has breast cancer and has cancelled tour

• Her youth and an early diagnosis make for high chance of survival

• Singer has previously supported breast cancer charities

Key quote

"I was so looking forward to bringing the Showgirl tour to Australian audiences and am sorry to have to disappoint my fans. Nevertheless, hopefully all will work out fine and I’ll be back with you all again soon." - KYLIE MINOGUE

Story in full KYLIE Minogue yesterday promised to be back on stage soon, despite being given the devastating news that she has breast cancer. The singer, 36, was forced to cancel her latest sell-out tour after discovering early stages of the disease while on holiday with her boyfriend.

As messages of support flooded in from famous friends, fans and family, the performer vowed the show would go on in the near future.

She said: "I was so looking forward to bringing the Showgirl tour to Australian audiences and am sorry to have to disappoint my fans.

"Nevertheless, hopefully all will work out fine and I’ll be back with you all again soon."

It is rare for a healthy young woman to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Around 80 per cent of breast cancer victims are aged over 50.

Professor John Toy, the medical director of the charity, Cancer Research UK, said: "To be diagnosed at 36 is unusually bad luck for her."

But cancer specialists predicted Kylie’s early diagnosis and improvements in treatment mean a high chance of survival. Such improvements have led to a 22 per cent fall in breast cancer death rates in the past ten years.

It is even more rare for such a high-profile figure as Kylie, who is worth 35 million, to be open about the disease and charities praised her "breast awareness".

Other stars to be struck by breast cancer while still relatively young include English-born Olivia Newton-John and American rock star Anastacia.

Kylie’s management said the diagnosis was confirmed this week while the singer was visiting Melbourne with her boyfriend, French actor Olivier Martinez, 39. The singer immediately cancelled her tour in order to undergo treatment.

The Showgirl tour began in Scotland in March at Glasgow’s SECC where Kylie sold out five dates, earning around 2 million. She was due to perform around Australia and set to headline at this year’s Glastonbury Festival in Somerset.

Thousands of fans will be disappointed, but already Kylie’s website has been inundated with messages of support.

Her sister, Dannii Minogue, 33, thanked everyone for their "kind thoughts" and said the family were positive Kylie would return to full health.

"The news is very upsetting, although as the cancer has been diagnosed at such an early stage we are all very optimistic that everything will be OK," she said.

"I know all your kind thoughts will mean the world to her as she gets better."

In the showbusiness world, producer Pete Waterman, who launched Kylie’s pop career, and TV presenter Gloria Hunniford, whose daughter Caron Keating died of the disease last year, sent get-well wishes.

Ms Hunniford said everyone would be saddened by the "shocking news".

"Every young girl right across the world will be shocked today because Kylie is the epitome of someone who is young, fit and vibrant," she said.

"She eats all the right things and does all the right things."

Former Blue Peter presenter Ms Keating lived in Australia for most of the last two years of her life where she underwent alternative therapies.

Ms Hunniford said Australia was a good place for Kylie to be "because of the sunshine and the complementary therapies that are available over there".

Meanwhile, the singer’s former boyfriend Jason Donovan added that Kylie would fight the disease in every way, and actress Anne Charleston, who played Madge in the popular soap Neighbours, which launched Kylie’s career, said the news was like a "stab to her heart".

She added: "I think it’s a good thing that she’s in Australia with her family. They are a very close family and you do need your family around you."

Kylie first hit British TV screens as mechanic Charlene Mitchell in Neighbours but soon moved on to top the pop charts with I Should Be So Lucky and Especially For You. After experimenting with indie music, she again found success with disco hit Spinning Around, although her bottom in a pair of gold hotpants became as famous as the vocals.

The star has also previously worked to raise money for breast cancer and one of her bras was sold at auction for a record 2,400.

More than 3,600 women in Scotland are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and about 1,000 women a year die from the disease, but Lorraine Dallas, the head of national development at Breast Cancer Care Scotland, said Kylie’s diagnosis should not alarm other young women, and that breast cancer was still uncommon in women under 50.

Ms Dallas said Kylie’s openness about the disease could give strength to others. She said: "This is one of the positives that can come from a situation like this. Breast cancer awareness is important and part of the overall health awareness of people.

"It is about being aware of your own body and, if you have any concerns, getting in touch with a relevant professional. It is a very powerful message to anyone going through breast cancer that it is OK to talk about it and what the impacts are."

• Breast Cancer Care can be contacted on 0808 800 6000.

RISE OF AN ICON

FOR two decades Kylie Minogue has stayed at the top of the entertainment industry, reinventing herself every time her career appeared to be heading into a cul-de-sac.

The 5ft Aussie has overcome the stigma of being a soap star and Eighties’ pop icon to dominate the charts as one of the slickest acts around.

Now she faces a different challenge, battling breast cancer, but if her tough attitude to the ruthless world of pop is anything to go by, she is expected to be back soon.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1968, the eldest of three children, Kylie found fame playing Charlene, a feisty Melbourne mechanic in top soap Neighbours.

The girl-next-door image was so successful it translated into pop and Kylie signed to Stock, Aitken and Waterman. With hits such as I Should Be So Lucky she was soon overshadowing sister Dannii, who had been regarded as more likely to achieve international acclaim.

By 1991 Kylie had become the first recording artist to have her first 13 singles reach the British top 10, but she was bored of her squeaky-clean image. Following a relationship with INXS star Michael Hutchence, Kylie left Stock, Aitken and Waterman to pursue collaborations with the Pet Shop Boys, Nick Cave and the Manic Street Preachers.

When her new singles failed to top the charts, her career was considered at an end. But helped by a pair of minuscule gold hot-pants, her 2000 comeback single, Spinning Around, became the singer’s first British No1 in ten years.

By the start of 2005, Kylie had sold 40 million singles and 25 million albums - and become a gay icon. Her tours again packed out arenas, with the latest expected to attract 700,000 people worldwide. The tour has been cancelled because of her cancer, but, in true comeback style, Kylie has promised fans she will be back.

Younger women face challenges of treatment with good prognosis

KYLIE Minogue’s diagnosis of breast cancer could mean months of surgery and treatment as the singer battles to overcome the disease.

Last night doctors said the prognosis was positive as younger women with an early diagnosis usually survive.

But it is always a tough battle for women taking on the physical and psychological challenges of treatment.

Breast cancer is common, faced by about one in nine women. Those who do not have children are slightly more likely to develop the disease.

At the moment it is unclear how far it has developed in the singer’s case.

It could have been detected in cells sent off for other medical tests or through finding a lump in the breast.

Lorraine Dallas, the head of national development at Breast Cancer Care Scotland, said early treatment usually includes surgery to remove cancer cells.

The doctor will decide whether the lump needs to be removed, a lumpectomy, or the whole breast, a mastectomy.

Many women are inclined to remove the whole breast to reduce the chances of the cancer spreading.

After surgery, the majority of women will have chemotherapy to make sure none of the cancer has spread in the breast or to other parts of the body.

Ms Dallas said there are a range of techniques to minimise the cosmetic impact of surgery and counselling is available to deal with blows to body image such as hair loss.

She continued: "Inevitably, having perceived yourself as a healthy young woman, being diagnosed with breast cancer makes you question how well you are, and that has an impact.

"So, there is a process of psychological recovery from the disease, not just for the individual but for friends and family."

Liz Carroll, the head of clinical services at Breast Cancer Care, said chemotherapy can also affect fertility, creating an extra burden for young sufferers. She agreed the psychological impact is as difficult as the physical impact. She added: "For someone like Kylie, who is in the public eye, it will be difficult."

 
 
 

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