Meet Rosie, a 70-year-old retired pharmacist from Hertfordshire, who unknowingly inherited the BRCA1 gene mutation from her mum, who died of breast cancer. She then found her aunt died of ovarian cancer. She is now an advocate for better screening services and continuing to fund research.
In 2016, two of my sisters were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Very quickly, my daughter and I found out we carried the BRCA1 mutation, inherited from my mother, and planned preventative surgeries. As a result, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and my daughter was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer within a fortnight of one other. We were treated and made full recoveries.
It was a different story for my mother’s generation. She died of breast cancer in 1960 when I was only ten years old, leaving five young children, and my aunt died of ovarian cancer just a few years after that. Back then we had no idea her cancer risk could be familial.
"My family has benefited from major discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary cancers that were years in the making."Rosie Lapsley
Thankfully due to the wonders of research and the advances in treatment, my sisters and my daughter are all in great health. My family has benefited from major discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary cancers that were years in the making. Major discoveries that led to the creation of the first drugs ovarian cancer patients had seen in years, which are now helping women without a BRCA mutation live longer, better lives.
We’re lucky to be living in this exciting time and I want to thank everyone involved in research. Your work really has helped us enormously. I hope it will continue to help with earlier diagnosis and improve treatments.
I can’t wait to see what you achieve for the next generation of women and for the future generations of scientists who will build on your discoveries.
Rosie’s story was shown as part of the BBC Lifeline Appeal on the 31st January. Watch the full story here.