Nude Study by Keith Fitton (with an acknowledgement to Bill Buchman)
A bit of a special post inspired by Angelina Jolie’s courageous decision to have, not only have a double maschetomy, but also to tell the world about it, in a bid to raise awareness of the risks caused by the BRCA1 gene mutation, and potentially save lives in the process. Now this is something that strikes to my core. I lost my mother and sister at the same early age, both dying from rampant ovarian cancer. My niece was also diagnosed with the disease, but had the foresight, knowledge, and wherewithal to have a blood test that was to reveal that she, like Angelina, was a BRCA1 carrier. After extensive and radical treatment, she is doing OK, and my family all owe her an enormous debt because of her energy and drive to pursue the truth, about this genetic link. I say this because, after a referall to the superb St Mary’s hospital in Manchester I was tested – and myself found to be a carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation. So this is the proof – if we needed it, of the reason my mother and sister both died so tragically, and so young. It also gives us the information that will help, and is already helping our children make the decisions they need to to keep as safe as they can possibly be. Nothing, including the certainty that it’s not my fault makes any of this easy to bear. It’s very hard – but at least we have the information that past generations didn’t have, and because of Angelina’s brave outing, others will too. Here’s looking at you kid.