“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. I didn’t think I was at risk at all. I was the first person in my family that I knew of to have it.
I decided that it was bad luck but as I was a lucky person, that that would be it for me and cancer.
After eight years I was diagnosed again. It took longer to work out that I had ovarian cancer than my entire journey from diagnosis through to treatment with breast cancer.
It started with a pain in my left buttock radiating all the way down my calf. I was told that I had sciatica and the specialist recommended Pilates.
I started to need the toilet every hour. I was getting constipated and even though I was dieting and exercising, I was losing weight from my hips but putting it on around my waist. Strangely, my belly button was very sore.
After eighteen months I asked for a smear test. I incorrectly assumed that a smear would discover all female gynecological cancers but I was wrong.
After I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, they said that most people don’t get two completely different cancers without some kind of genetic involvement.
In January 2008 I found out that I had the BRCA gene mutation. I realised that it was a can of worms for my family members as they could have it too.
I immediately wrote to them to tell them that I had the mutation and now my sister and brother have taken action. I would encourage all women to ask if anyone in their family has had cancer. You could find out that you’re at risk."
Visit our BRCA hub to find out more about genetic mutations and hereditary ovarian cancer.