Dedham campaigner braves photoshoot for cancer awareness after preventative double mastectomy
- Credit: STEVE HAMPSHIRE PHOTOGRAPHY
A brave Essex woman who underwent life-changing surgery after discovering she was at extremely high risk of cancer has boldly stepped into the spotlight to raise crucial awareness.
Katie Mumford, from Dedham, is one of 10 women who have taken ownership of their scars and stripped off for a glamorous photoshoot as part of The Eve Appeal’s Get Lippy campaign, which aims to encourage open conversations around women’s cancers by dismantling taboo or embarrassment.
The women photographed are at a much greater threat of ovarian and breast cancer due to an inherited mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
They have all had breast surgery: for some it was part of their cancer treatment, while for others, like Miss Mumford, it was a radical step to prevent a diagnosis.
Some of the women have also had their ovaries removed or even full hysterectomies for the same reasons.
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Fears were raised by doctors after Miss Mumford’s mother and half-sister were diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 48 and 28 respectively.
Miss Mumford, now 30, underwent tests, along with her mother, sister and half-sister, and they were all found to carry the mutated BRCA2 gene.
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In 2016, Miss Mumford had a potentially life-saving double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Her sister also had a preventative operation.
Marketing manager Miss Mumford said: “The surgery wasn’t great but if it means I will prevent getting cancer I feel quite lucky.”
Miss Mumford is now able to plan her future.
In September she is getting married and she and her partner are looking at ways they could have children without passing on the BRCA mutation.
Women in the UK have around a 2% risk of ovarian cancer and a 11% risk of breast cancer over their lifetime.
However, those with a BRCA gene mutation face risks of up to 90% for breast cancer and up to 60% for ovarian cancer.
Carina Drake, from the Bury St Edmunds area, also took part in the photoshoot, which aspires to raise awareness of breast and ovarian cancers and BRCA in the hope that more women will be aware of and check for symptoms and will take action if there is a family history of the diseases.
The issue took centre stage when actress Angelina Jolie and former Liberty X star Michelle Heaton went public about their decisions to have preventative surgery due to a BRCA mutation.