The UK's fastest-growing regional news network
°C | 9°C
28°C | 15°C
32°C | 17°C
See the full forecast for your area.
Sponsored by Britelite.
Home Maidstone News Article
When Michelle Beale and her sister Michala discovered the devastating news that they had inherited a breast cancer gene they had no idea their lives would go in such different directions.
The awful news that they carried the BRCA1 gene was given five years ago.
Michala, then 29, decided to have a double mastectomy – the same course of action chosen by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie.
But Michelle, now 35, of Poynder Drive, Holborough, Snodland, made the decision that she wouldn’t have surgery when offered it several years ago.
She placed her faith in having regular mammograms and her first came back clear.
Michelle said: “I always wondered whether you really want to know about the gene. But I thought if they find something it will be dealt with.”
After the first clear test she missed her second as she was six months pregnant. When she went for another after the birth, a tumour was found.
She added: “I thought my sister was mad having the surgery when she did. But I was blasé. I thought I would take it as it comes.”
Then doctors found a second tumour in her right breast at the end of last year. After chemotherapy and radiotherapy, earlier this year, she underwent a double mastectomy. She will have to take the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen for five years.
Michelle, who with husband Darren has four children and three stepchildren, said: “I’m not leaving it to chance this time.”
And she wants her own children to be tested at 18 – even though the decision is entirely up to them.
Her brother Duane, 30, also has the gene, putting him at an increased risk of prostate cancer at a young age. Youngest sibling Perrie, 28, is yet to receive his results.
Mum Yvonne, 53, was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago and has now completed her third and final round of treatment after it spread to her bowel.
She and husband Clive were forced to move to Suffolk a few years ago when he was made redundant and Michala also lives there.
The couple are desperate to move back to Snodland to be with their family.
Michelle, who attended Senacre High School with her sister, said: “Our mum is a really strong lady. It is terrible to see how upset she is when she has to go back at weekends.”
Clive, who works as a prison transport officer, is looking for work in the Snodland area.
He said: “We are desperate to get back. Wrongly, my wife blames herself for all of this.”
Click here for more news from Maidstone.
Click here for more news from around the county.