A model of courage: Mother of one, 29, wants to be the new Angelina Jolie… and prove there is life after a mastectomy
- Jade Power, 29, is a lingerie model and former Miss Sussex as well as a mother
- She has opted for a preventative double mastectomy as Angelia Jolie had in 2013
- Power carries a less well known gene called PALB2, while Jolie had the mutated BRCA1 gene
When Angelina Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy in 2013, it did much 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 the surgery after discovering she carried the mutated BRCA1 gene.
But lingerie model Jade Power, 29, carries another less well known gene called PALB2, which was only discovered in 2006, and similarly raises the risk of breast cancer.
Jade Power, 29, has taken the decision to have a double mastectomy to reduce her lifetime risk of breast cancer
It has led her to make the heartbreaking choice to have a double mastectomy at Guy’s Hospital in London.
Miss Power’s sister, Donna, 39, found out she carried a mutation in the PALB2 gene 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 is up to 63 per cent compared with 15 per cent for other women.
The mother-of-one said: ‘Angelina Jolie was one of the people who helped me make this decision by showing there is life after a mastectomy.
‘But many people just don’t know anything about PALB2, as we didn’t, so I hope to try to make it as well known, just like Angelina became a poster girl for the “Jolie gene”.
‘Learning I had this gene and facing this operation is scary, but I aim to go back to modelling lingerie afterwards with my new body.’
Donna, who is the second woman in her family to get breast cancer after her aunt, who was only 37 when she was diagnosed.
Donna had surgery twice to fully remove a lump, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and requested genetic testing.
Angelina Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy in 2013 after discovering she carried the mutated BRCA1 gene
She described finding out she carried a mutation in the PALB2 gene. ‘I just couldn’t believe it,’ she said.
‘I felt like there was just such a run of bad news coming in different waves and it was hard to navigate through it.
‘Then I was told there was a 50 per cent chance my sisters could have PALB2 as well.’
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-go-lucky before this, but then 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 until it was advanced or life-threatening.
‘I knew having a double mastectomy would mean I didn’t have to live a life of anxiety with every scan and check-up.
‘As a new young mum, I just wanted to put myself in the best possible situation, especially after seeing my sister being diagnosed so young.’
Jade Power (front) has the less well known gene called PALB2, her sister Donna (top) was diagnosed with breast cancer and her sister Claire (left) doesn’t have cancer or the gene
The Power sisters have launched a social media campaign, under the slogan Not Just BRCA, with the aim of highlighting PALB2 mutations, which affect around 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 50 can typically only get 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 in younger women.
Professor Marc Tischkowitz, from the department of medical genetics at the University of Cambridge, said: ‘PALB2 is the next most important gene for breast cancer after BRCA1 and BRCA2, yet most women are probably still unfamiliar with it.
‘Many experts believe every woman under 50 who gets breast cancer should have gene sequencing and I think that is the direction of travel.’
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