Sunday 16 June 2019

Irish woman (36) underwent cancer-preventative surgery without taking BRCA1 test ​

Ms Cahill has applauded Ms Jolie's efforts in highlighting awareness around the gene
Ms Cahill has applauded Ms Jolie's efforts in highlighting awareness around the gene
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A young mother-of two made the decision to have a double mastectomy and her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, despite not having taken the BRCA1 test.

Francis Cahill (36) told News At One that when she felt the need to take the preventative measure in 2010, the test for the deadly gene was not available to her. 

"My mum died at 38, one aunt passed away in 2006 and another aunt passed away in 2010," she told the RTE radio show.

"When you've so many members of your family who have passed away...I just felt it was the right choice for me."

Angelina Jolie revealed she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy in an article last year in The New York Times
Angelina Jolie revealed she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy in an article last year in The New York Times

Read more: 'Angelina Jolie is amazing', praises Irish author and nine-time cancer survivor Emma Hannigan

Angelina Jolie has hit the headlines recently for sharing her own experience of undergoing the same invasive surgery.

The actress, whose mother died of ovarian cancer, underwent a double mastectomy after first finding out she had the gene in 2013.

However, Ms Cahill said that after the passing of her aunt in 2010, the potential for the illness "was a ticking time bomb".

"Before [my aunt] passed away, she brought it up with me about this cancer gene. But there was very little knowledge about this cancer gene at the time and I needed a living family member in Ireland to be able to take the test," she said.

Read more: Jolie: my children will never have to say 'mom died of ovarian cancer'

Ms Cahill has applauded Ms Jolie's efforts in highlighting awareness around the gene, which has partly helped in making the test available in Ireland now.

However, the Irish mother, "the youngest person" to undergo such a surgery at the age of 30, said she would not take the test now.

"People have asked me would I not take the test. But it is a poisoned chalice. If the gene skipped me, I don't want to find out I went through all that surgery for nothing".

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