Helen's Story

I’m 32 years old and found out that I had the mutated BRCA gene three years ago. I found out because my mum and her sisters have breast cancer and their mother died from breast cancer. My Mum got tested and confirmed BRCA 1+. She made an appointment for me and my sister and brother and we all just went along with it and didn’t really question it.We are all BRCA 1+.

I accepted I had the BRCA gene quite easily and chose increased surveillance as my plan of attack. This the biggest regret of my life! I chose this option because I was worried about what others might think. I thought they might think I was being a bit dramatic and I guess in hindsight I didn’t really understand BRCA and what my options were. I now have breast cancer. I am halfway through my chemo. It sucks! I've had both breasts removed and because I'm having radiation I couldn't have an immedatiate reconstruction. So I'm flat as a pancake and hate it. I don't know what reconstruction to have - it's such a big decision. I no sooner make my decision then I change my mind. I'm looking forward to the conference so I can go to the night where people show their reconstructions.

Had I only been more proactive, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. My brother has chosen to ignore it, I guess he can a bit because he's a guy but his wife is pregnant so I'm hoping that might make him want to learn more about it. My other sister plans to have surgery and stuff but just hasn't got around to it. I thought she would when she saw what happened to me.

I don’t have advice for anyone because this is such a personal decision. But when you make your decision ask yourself, how will you feel if you get cancer? Because I feel terrible. Terrible that I had this information and was so slow to do anything about it.

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