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Gaby Dagul

28 February 2017

Gaby Jacobs

Finding out she has the BRCA gene mutation has and will change Gaby's life forever. But she's thankful for the knowledge that could save her life.

"I remember the day so clearly when Mum was diagnosed. I was on holiday in sunny Marbella when dad called. I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach; it didn't seem real. I could only describe it as a hole in my heart.

Dad said that mum had breast cancer and needed surgery followed by chemotherapy. Initially I felt that things could be worse, as this was one of the better cancers to have.

It was after mum's first surgery that the doctors discovered things were more serious. The first thing the doctor said to my dad was 'Do you want your kids to go out the room?' As soon as he said that we all knew it wasn't good.

After a long two weeks of scans and procedures they discovered that she also had inoperable ovarian cancer. We were devestated, how could she have breast and ovarian cancer? But things became more clear when they mentioned about the BRCA gene mutation.

I  had never heard of it but I did know that Angelina Jolie had had a double mastectomy. I quickly learnt. My mum was tested for this BRCA1 gene mutation and as expected it came back positive. She had inherited it through my adorable healthy, cancer-free 90 year old grandfather.

As soon as we found out that mum had the BRCA gene mutation we all knew that my brother and I had a 50/50 chance of inheriting it too. I wanted to get tested as soon as possible. How could I possibly live my life not knowing? I decided to have counselling to try and get my head around everything.

I was in the park with my friend when I got the phone call from the geneticist telling me that I had the BRCA gene mutation too. Even though I was expecting it, it was still such a shock to have my fear confirmed.

I've been advised to have a double mastectomy by the time I am 30. I'd like to have it before I have children so that I'm fully recovered. I will, when my family is complete, have surgery to remove both my ovaries and fallopian tubes by the time I am 35. Together with the mastectomy this will bring the risk of developing breast and or ovarian cancer down to the national average.

It's scary knowing what I have to do to my body but watching my mother suffer going through chemotherapy and seeing how hard she is finding battling this horrible disease, preventative surgery is the right option for me. 

It was upsetting for me that I found out who my true friends were throughout this tough time in my life but I am so truly grateful for everyone who has been there for me. 

Taking control of my future is invigorating and frightening - but I feel I can do it."

Are you concerned about your family history? Find out more about BRCA gene mutations and whether you are eligible for testing by exploring our BRCA hub