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BRCA test 'given me the chance to change my future'

A woman who tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation has spoken to Daybreak about how checking her family medical history to see if she was at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer affected her life.

Caroline Presho, 39, said the positive diagnosis "messes with your head" because it made her aware of a potential cancer timebomb.

However, opting to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed has given her the chance "to be here longer had I not known".

Read: '63% of women' unaware of BRCA gene mutation

'63% of women' unaware of BRCA gene mutation

Over half of women have never heard of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which leads to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer, research has shown.

A survey carried out by Ovarian Cancer Action also found:

  • Some 15% of women were nervous about talking about the heredity gene with their family.
  • More than 60% said they are not aware of where to get more info about genetic testing.
  • At least 63% haven't heard of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

Read: Poll: Women still not getting tested for BRCA gene

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Poll: Women still not getting tested for BRCA gene

More women are failing to check their family history and talk to their doctor about the risk they run of developing ovarian cancer, a charity has found.

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie lost her mother to ovarian cancer in 2007. Credit: PA

Ovarian Cancer Action said despite actress Angelina Jolie's high profile double mastectomy last year, women were still failing to get tested for ovarian cancer.

According to research carried out by the charity, only one in ten women who were surveyed were prompted to find out more about their family's medical history.

And some 2% of those aware of a family history had been tested or were about to be tested for the gene mutation - leaving thousands of women unaware of their risk.

Read: UK cancer survival rates 'low'

Read: Brad Pitt: Angelina is 'heroic'

Report: UK worse for ovarian cancer

Women are less likely to survive ovarian cancer in the UK than in other comparable countries, researchers have said.

The study suggests one reason for the survival rate is that the standard of treatment in the UK, including surgery, is relatively poor Credit: PA Wire

Differences in treatment for advanced ovarian cancer - which has low survival rates in the UK - could explain why the UK lags behind other countries, according to a study.

The study, published in Gynaecologic Oncology, found that in the UK 69% of women survived for at least one year, compared with 72% in Denmark and between 74% and 75% in Australia, Canada and Norway.

Lead author Dr Bernard Rachet said: "The results show that the proportion of women with advanced disease is similar to that in other countries, but that survival for women with advanced disease is much lower.

"This suggests that the success of treatment is lower in the UK, and more effort should be made to ensure that UK women with ovarian cancer have the same access to the best treatments."

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