Breast cancer risk mum poses for calendar to raise awareness

jpco-18-9-13- Carly Perkins  (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-18-9-13- Carly Perkins (Pic by Jon Rigby)

A young mum who underwent a double mastectomy due to her frighteningly high risk of contracting breast cancer has posed for a calendar in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease.

Like film star Angelina Jolie, Carly Perkins, of Broadfield, carries the hereditary BRCA1 gene, which gives her an 85 per cent chance of developing breast cancer.

She underwent the operation – which reduced her risk to 5 per cent - in March, months after losing her aunt to the disease.

The gene also means that Carly, 29, has a 60 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer – and she will eventually have to go back under the knife to have her ovaries removed.

With a two-year-old daughter – Tilly-Rose – who has a 50 per cent chance of contracting the disease, Carly was desperate to raise awareness.

With the help of her sponsor, ISG, she travelled to Chesterfield for a calendar photo shoot, organised by the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline. The calendar will be out next week – and Carly made some new friends during the shoot.

She said: “I hadn’t met any of the other girls before and I wish I had because I would have had a lot more support after my operation. I felt an instant connection with them. I was the youngest of the group and they said I was like a little sister. It sounds corny but we were like one big family – they knew how I was feeling.”

Regarding her own operation, Carly said she was fully recovered. But she added: “It’s not the standard that you go in and have one operation and that’s it. There are corrective bits that need to be done.”

As for her risk of ovarian cancer, Carly said there were good reasons for not having the operation now – not least of which was her wish to have more children.

She said: “Your ovaries protect you from bowel cancer, so the bad outweighs the good when it comes to removing them at the moment.”

Carly is looking for people willing to help distribute the calendar in the Crawley area.

If you can help, contact the charity via www.breastcancergenetics.co.uk