When Wendy Watson was just 16, her mother died from breast cancer. After researching her family history she discovered a further nine relatives had fallen victim to the disease. Although little was known about the genetic link to breast cancer at the time, Wendy was concerned about her own risk of developing the disease. 'The idea came into my head that if I had my breasts removed, I wouldn't develop breast cancer. I'd never heard of anyone having an elective double mastectomy before, but I felt it could be the solution for me.
At the age of 37, Wendy was the first woman in Britain to have a pre-emptive double mastectomy to avoid the breast cancer that had stalked her family. Now, thirteen years later, at 24, her daughter Becky has made the same choice. In 1996, Wendy set up the Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline to offer support to women 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The following year she successfully spearheaded a campaign against the patenting of two genes linked to breast cancer, all the time challenging the bureaucracy of many Primary Care Trusts in the UK and the European Parliament.
Written by Wendy, this is the inspiring and courageous story of her family's personal struggle with the disease and her efforts to help thousands of other women understand and cope with this aggressive cancer.
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