Face and hands of woman having breast scan

This week, we heard in the news that Sharon Osbourne has had a double mastectomy after learning she has an increased genetic risk of breast cancer. Of course, many of our Community members are already only too aware of the issues around inherited breast cancer risk. However, a celebrity story like this has the potential to get a lot more people thinking – and worrying – about the topic.

The first thing to remember is that not all breast cancers are genetic. However, surgery of the kind that Sharon Osbourne had can be an option to think about for women who have tested positive for a gene that increases the risk of developing breast cancer, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. You may also be considered at higher risk if you have a strong history of breast or ovarian cancer in your family – particularly if there have several cases on the same side of the family, and in women under 50.

If you’re worried about a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, you can check your risk using our online self-assessment tool OPERA.

You can also find out more about risk-reducing breast surgery on our website.  If you have questions, you can talk to one of our team of specialist nurses on the free Macmillan Support Line. It’s 0808 808 0000, and it’s open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.

Have you had, or are you considering, risk-reducing breast surgery? Share your experiences by posting in the comments here.