Despite breast cancer being an important issue for women, many are unaware of the BRCA gene mutation and what they mean for those who are found to carry it. Returning Label volunteer writer Leah Langley educates us on this topic and highlights why accounts such as @/paige_previvor’s have helped those effected by the mutation.
The BRCA genes are Brest Cancer Genes, and BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two of the most prevalent variants. These genes are significant since they have been found to influence the likelihood of an individual developing breast cancer.
1 in 400 women, or 0.25% of the population, carry mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These occur when the DNA makeup of the gene sustains damage, and it may no longer be effective at repairing broken DNA or helping to prevent breast cancer. Those who have the mutation are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer and are more likely to develop cancer at an unusually young age; with 55-65% of women with the BRCA1 mutation will developing breast cancer before age 70. The BRCA1 mutation is also more likely to cause triple negative breast cancer, which is one of the most aggressive forms and can be very difficult to treat.
Paige More is an advocate for women’s health and empowerment, and created the page ‘Paige Previvor’ to share her journey after being diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene and undergoing a preventative mastectomy at 24 years old. Through the Instagram page she has been able to create a community of fellow previvors, survivors, and women battling breast cancer.
Originally, Paige had not planned on sharing her journey, but she chose to do so for her 13-year-old sister who may also have the gene mutation but is yet to be tested. She wanted her sister to see that life wasn’t over following a double mastectomy and that there were other people who understood what it was like to have the mutated gene. The page has become a lifeline for people who have felt alone in their battle and it has created a space for people to come together and talk about such an important yet unspoken issue. There has also been more awareness brought to the importance of checking your bodies for the signs of any cancers since the page has provided the public with information that they may not originally be aware of.
Edited by Izzie Naish – News Editor
Header designed by Annabel Smith – Deputy Head of Design