Michelle Heaton speaks about her BRCA 2 diagnosis
Former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton spoke on last night’s Late Late Show about being recently diagnosed with a mutated gene called BRCA 2. Faulty BRCA genes cause around 5% of breast cancer cases, so it is relatively rare, but for those diagnosed with the gene, it is a frightening experience meaning an 80 per cent chance of developing breast cancer and 30-40% chance of developing ovarian cancer.
Michelle has been meeting with other women with the gene, in the hopes that it will help her come to a decision on having preventative surgery (double mastectomy and ovaries removed). Michelle admits that the scariest part of being diagnosed is the fear of leaving her baby daughter, Faith, without a mum. Another worry is that Faith herself has a 50% of inheriting the gene.
Facts About BRCA Gene
- BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that belong to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors.
- In normal cells, BRCA1 and BRCA2 help ensure the stability of the cell’s genetic material and help prevent uncontrolled cell growth. Mutation of these genes has been linked to the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
- The names BRCA1 and BRCA2 stand for breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 and breast cancer susceptibility gene 2, respectively.
- A woman’s risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Men with these mutations also have an increased risk of breast cancer. Both men and women who have harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations may be at increased risk of other cancers.
- Genetic tests are available to check for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. A blood sample is required for these tests, and genetic counseling is recommended before and after the tests.
- Many research studies are being conducted to find newer and better ways of detecting, treating, and preventing cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Additional studies are focused on improving genetic counseling methods and outcomes. Our knowledge in these areas is evolving rapidly.
This is great information about the BRCA gene mutation. How hard it must be for Michelle to decide whether to have prophylactic surgery. I hope she comes to peace with her decision. xox
Marie, Thanks for this important post. I am BRCA2+ myself so I understand the difficulties surrounding all of these decisions. The best advice i can offer to anyone contemplating genetic testing is to take the time to think things through and to definitely meet with a genetic counselor. Ask yourself if you are ready to deal with the test results, no matter what they are. Every person needs to make decisions they feel most comfortable with. Also, if one does test positive, the next step doesn’t have to be prophylactic procedures, again personal choices matter and it’s important to think through every stage. Here are links to a few of my posts on this topic. Thanks for talking about this topic, Marie.
I would not be a big fan of Michelle Heaton’s publicity seeking in the past, but watching her on the late late show on friday night my heart went out to her. Such a difficult thing to face as a young mother.
Michelle, please do have the surgery, you have that beautiful baby girl to look out for. My sister died two years ago of breast cancer, leaving three small children and the pain is still great for them and for us
i had the same operation in 2010 and i am still not 100%, i had alot of complications during and after the surgery and the support is great before you have your operation but had no support afterwards if i could turn the clock back i would have waited to be checked every year i wished i looked as well as michelle does after her operation
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