The Kylie fever gripping Sydney before the start of her Showgirl tour this week turned to shock when the singer announced she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer and postponed the show indefinitely.

The news sparked an outpouring of grief from fans around the world and the kind of media frenzy not often seen in Australia.

As everyone from Prime Minister John Howard to pop singer Geri Halliwell sent public messages of support, Victorian premier Steve Bracks warned the paparazzi to respect Minogue’s privacy while she undergoes treatment in Melbourne.

Singers Melissa Etheridge and Olivia Newton-John, both breast cancer survivors, also wished Minogue a speedy recovery. Minogue reportedly sought advice from Newton-John over lunch in St Kilda on Tuesday.

I was so looking forward to bringing the Showgirl tour to Australian audiences, and am sorry to have to disappoint my fans, the singer, who turns 37 next week, said in a statement.

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

Her diagnosis sends an important message to all women to regularly check for breast cancer from a young age, said Dr Helen Zorbas, director of the National Breast Cancer Centre.

And childless women need to be particularly vigilant as research shows the risk is higher in women who have not had children, Zorbas told SSO.

As mammography screening is effective only in women over 40, younger women need to pay close attention to any changes in the breast.

A diagnosis of early breast cancer, which Minogue is said to have, means the cancer appears not to have spread beyond the breast, Zorbas explained.

So the primary aim of treatment is to surgically remove the cancer and then provide treatments that might defend the body against any small microscopic particles of cancer that we can’t see.

The surgery might entail either a mastectomy or breast conserving treatment, where not all the breast is removed. If the latter option is chosen it’s usually accompanied by radiotherapy to the breast.

Out of the 11,500 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Australia, only around 600 are aged in their 30s.

And out of all of those diagnosed with breast cancer in their 30s around 80 percent live longer than five years, Zorbas said.

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