SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Pop star Kylie Minogue has been voted the most inspirational breast cancer star for her willingness to speak openly and honestly about dealing with the disease.
The Australian singer, 42, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and underwent surgery and hair-losing chemotherapy.
But Minogue, whose career began on the TV soap opera "Neighbours," returned to the stage within a year and continues to perform. She toured 21 countries last year, and just released her 11th studio album, "Aphrodite."
Minogue topped an online poll of 1,000 participants by British-based mastectomy-wear specialist Amoena, coming ahead of other celebrities affected by breast cancer like the late Linda McCartney and singer Olivia Newton-John.
"Kylie inspired many women to be more direct about their own fears, encouraging them to believe they would get through their ordeal," Amoena spokeswoman Rhoda White said in a statement.
"Undergoing a mastectomy can badly damage a woman's body confidence and self-image, and celebrities like Kylie play a vital role in raising public awareness."
According to the American Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1.3 million new breast cancer cases are diagnosed around the world every year and it kills 465,000 women annually, making it the leading global cancer killer of women.
Other celebrities to publicly battle breast cancer include singer Sheryl Crow who campaigns for women to have regular mammograms, and British actress Lynn Redgrave who died of the disease earlier this year after writing a book about her battle.
The list also includes actresses Maggie Smith, Christine Applegate, Maura Tierney, Cynthia Nixon, Edie Falco, Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Sally Whittaker, singers Melissa Etheridge and Carly Simon, and U.S. TV anchorwoman Robin Roberts.
White said women facing breast cancer were inspired by well-known women sharing their experiences with the disease but they also looked close to home for help.
"Many women said support from family, friends and other women who had been through breast cancer treatment, was the biggest motivator," she said.
Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Dean Goodman