What is the BRCA2 cancer gene and should you be concerned?

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Michelle Heaton has revealed her trauma at carrying the gene which means she has an 80% chance of suffering from ovarian or breast cancer. But what is BRCA2?

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Former Liberty X star Michelle Heaton has been speaking out on the shocking news that she has the BRCA2 cancer gene, making her more likely to develop ovarian or breast cancer.

The news came out after Michelle became the victim of some Twitter trolling about her and husband, Hugh Hanley, deciding to go on holiday without their baby daughter Faith.

The singer felt that she had to answer to her critics and explained to OK! magazine: "We didn't just go away because we were being selfish."

"A couple of months before we went, I found out that I have the BRCA2 cancer gene, which means I have an 80 per cent chance of getting ovarian cancer or breast cancer - and that's on top of everyone else's one in three chance."

So what is BRCA2?

Belonging to a class of genes known as tumour suppressors - a woman's risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits the a BRCA2 mutation.

It is a hereditary condition and Michelle found out she had the gene after discovering her father was a carrier.

The former Celebrity Big Brother star also revealed that her daughter has a 50 per cent chance of having the gene.

She said "that out of everything upsets me the most because I could have given this thing to my baby."

Women can choose to pre-emptively have a double mastectomy and have their ovaries removed in order to reduce their risks. Michelle admitted she is now seeing a councillor to help her make this difficult decision.

So should you be concerned? BRCA2 is relatively uncommon in the general population and is usually only found in families with a history of breast and/or ovarian cancer.

Currently, there are no standard criteria for referring someone for BRCA2 mutation testing unless another family member is found to have the gene, but it is recommended that women who appear to be at increased risk of ovarian or breast cancer because of their family history should consider genetic counselling to learn more about their potential risks.
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