Helen had a strong history of breast cancer in her family- five of her aunts had been diagnosed with the disease whilst another aunt underwent a preventative mastectomy over 30 years ago.
In June 2011, Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer and the lump was subsequently removed. However when the lump was analysed it was confirmed that she had in fact been misdiagnosed and in reality the surgeon had removed a benign, non-cancerous lump. In light of this, Helen made the decision to have a preventative double mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction instead of her annual mammograms as she did not want to go through that experience again.
Helen’s family history put her in a high risk category and she felt it was likely she may be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life. Although Helen's family had a BRCA gene test (a blood test that uses DNA analysis to identify harmful changes in either one of the two breast cancer susceptibility genes — BRCA1 and BRCA2), no gene mutations were found were found in any family members. Despite this, the doctors at the time told her that she almost certainly had a genetic predisposition to breast cancer based on her family history.
Aged just 39, Helen had the double mastectomy and reconstruction performed at the same time by Mr Martin Jones. The breast tissue was analysed afterwards and there were found to be pre-cancerous changes so Helen felt confident in her decision to have preventative surgery. Helen feels she can now live her life free from the worry of a breast cancer diagnosis.