Not only has my mum passed away with the disease, her eldest sister was also 42 when she was first diagnosed and subsequently years later had a further primary cancer in her remaining breast. My mum’s middle sister then developed the disease several years after. Thankfully my Aunts remain well and currently disease-free. Both of my Aunts had genetic testing on their tumours and they both have a Variant of Uncertain Significance on the BRCA 2 gene.
On my paternal family side, my Nan and 3 of her sisters also had breast cancer and sadly my Nan and one of her sisters died of the disease.
For me, it meant that I had annual screening from the age of 35 but I always felt it was going to be my destiny to get the disease and I pursued prophylactic surgery. In 2013 after a very long process, I had bilateral prophylactic mastectomies after being informed by my consultant that I had an 80% chance of developing the disease with our family history alone.
I have no regrets about the decision I made regarding the surgery, at times the recovery was more than I anticipated but with the great support, I had with my family and friends I was soon back to ‘normal’.
I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to have the surgery to minimise my risk of this awful disease that has taken so many from us.