Three brave sisters have revealed how they had their breasts AND wombs removed to avoid a hereditary cancer which killed their mother when she was just 32. Luan Moreton, 38, Kim Jones, 33, and Jemma Dennis, 30, had mastectomies after tests revealed they had the same aggressive gene as their mother Rita. Now the two eldest sisters have also undergone hysterectomies after doctors told them they had a 50-60 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer.
Youngest sibling Jemma will also have the operation after she has tried for children with her husband. Yesterday the trio urged other women to be screened for the disease and consider preventative surgery.
Luan, who has one son, said: ‘We were all very close growing up after what happened to mum, but these operations have made us even closer.I feel that we are lucky because we realised we all had the gene and took steps to prevent it from developing. People need to know that there are things you can do to minimise the risk. Our mum had the gene but she was never tested for it. It was too late for her – but we were able to do something about it.’
Luan was 12, Kim seven and Jemma just four when their mother died from breast cancer at the age of 32 in 1986.
Years later the nightmare returned when Luan, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, then 31, discovered a lump in her breast while taking a shower. Tests showed she had breast cancer and in July 2005 she had a lumpectomy followed by a six-month course of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiotherapy.
EXPLAINING THE BREAST CANCER GENES
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that belong to a class known as tumour suppressors. In normal cells, BRCA1 and BRCA2 help ensure the stability of the cell’s DNA and help prevent uncontrolled cell growth. However, women who inherit a mutated form of these genes are at far greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer at a young age. Harmful BRCA1 mutations may also increase a woman’s risk of developing cervical, uterine, pancreatic, and colon cancer. Harmful BRCA2 mutations may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, gallbladder and bile duct cancer, and melanoma. Men who carry the BRCA1 gene have a greater risk of breast cancer and possibly pancreatic and prostate cancer. However, this is more likely among men with the BRCA2 gene.
Source: National Cancer Institute, U.S
The treatment was successful, but further examinations at Birmingham Women’s Hospital revealed that Luan was carrying the BRCA1 gene – the main trigger for the disease. It meant there was a 50 per cent chance that her sisters would have it too. In January 2007 Jemma, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, gave blood to be tested – and the results came back positive. It meant she had an 85 per cent chance of getting breast cancer. Middle sister Kim, from Leicester, was also tested a couple of months later and she too tested positive.
Read more: DailyMail