When Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy in 2013, it did a lot to raise awareness of a genetic mutation linked to a higher risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
Now a model is aiming to become the ‘new Angelina Jolie’ after undergoing a mastectomy following her sister’s breast cancer diagnosis.
Miss Jolie, whose mother died of ovarian cancer aged 56, decided to have surgery after discovering she had the mutated BRCA1 gene.
But lingerie model Jade Power, 29, carries another lesser-known gene called PALB2, which was only discovered in 2006, and similarly increases the risk of breast cancer.
Jade Power, 29, made the decision to have a double mastectomy to reduce her lifetime risk of breast cancer
This led her to make the heartbreaking choice of having a double mastectomy at Guy’s Hospital in London.
Miss Power’s sister Donna, 39, discovered she had a PALB2 gene mutation in September 2020 after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Jade, a former Miss Sussex, is now determined to reduce her lifetime risk of breast cancer – which can be as high as 63% compared to 15% for other women.
The mother-of-one said: ‘Angelina Jolie was one of the people who helped me make this decision by showing that there is life after a mastectomy.
“But a lot of people don’t know anything about PALB2, like us neither, so I hope to try to spread the word, just like Angelina became a poster boy for the ‘Jolie gene’.
“Learning that I had this gene and going through this operation is scary, but my goal is to return to modeling lingerie with my new body afterwards.”
Donna, who is the second woman in her family to have breast cancer after her aunt, who was just 37 when she was diagnosed.
Donna underwent surgery twice to completely remove a mass, followed by chemotherapy and radiation, and requested genetic testing.
Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy in 2013 after finding out she had the mutated BRCA1 gene
She described discovering that she carried a PALB2 gene mutation. “I just couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“I felt like there was such a series of bad news coming in different waves and it was hard to navigate.
“Then I was told there was a 50% chance that my sisters could also have PALB2.”
The consultant’s older sister, Claire, 43, does not carry the gene, but Jade tested positive.
Jade, who lives in London with her partner and nine-month-old son Zander, said: ‘I waited two months for the result.
“I was so happy before that but my life changed in a flash and suddenly I had this much higher chance of getting breast cancer which even with monitoring might not be discovered. before it is advanced or life-threatening.
“I knew having a double mastectomy would mean I wouldn’t have to live a life of anxiety with every exam and exam.
“As a new young mum, I just wanted to put myself in the best position possible, especially after seeing my sister diagnosed at such a young age.”
Jade Power (front) has the lesser-known gene called PALB2, her sister Donna (top) has been diagnosed with breast cancer and her sister Claire (left) does not have cancer or the gene
The Power sisters launched a social media campaign, under the slogan Not Just BRCA, with the aim of highlighting PALB2 mutations, which affect approximately one in 1,000 women, and other non-BRCA mutations.
The sisters are also campaigning for everyone to receive a genetic test to identify mutations.
Currently, women under the age of 50 can generally only have a genetic test on the NHS if a family member is known to have a faulty gene linked to breast cancer, or if they have a strong family history of the disease. disease in younger women.
Professor Marc Tischkowitz, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Medical Genetics, said: “PALB2 is the second most important gene for breast cancer after BRCA1 and BRCA2, but most women probably don’t know about it yet. .”
“Many experts believe that every woman under 50 with breast cancer should have genetic sequencing and I think that’s the way to go.”