Michelle Heaton speaks about her BRCA 2 diagnosis

Michelle Heaton, pictured with daughter Faith (Image – copyright Michelle Heaton)

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.