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MP's wife fights gene fault with breast op

21 June 2010

By Dr Vivienne Raper

Appeared in BioNews 563

The wife of Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham has had a double mastectomy after a genetic test showed she had a raised risk of breast cancer.

Marie-France van Heel, 40, was found to have the BRCA1 gene fault which, according to the Manchester Evening News, raises the risk of breast cancer by 55 to 85 per cent. Her sister Claire died three years ago from breast cancer at 39 and her elder sister and mother have been treated for the disease. The breast operation is a bid to prevent the cancer before it develops.

Andy Burnham is Shadow Health Secretary of the UK's Labour party. The couple have two children under 10.

The Telegraph | 03 June 2010
The Sun | 04 June 2010
Manchester Evening News | 04 June 2010
Herald Scotland | 04 June 2010
Daily Mail | 03 June 2010


28 May 2013 - by Chris Jacobs 
The news about Angelina Jolie opting for a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer has undoubtedly raised concerns among women with a family history of the disease. Whilst this news has certainly raised awareness of hereditary cancer, there are two key points that it is important to emphasize...
12 July 2010 - by MacKenna Roberts 
Western men who carry a BRCA2 genetic mutation have a six to nine per cent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, UK researchers have found...

14 June 2010 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The Australian Federal Court in Sydney is considering groundbreaking legal action of whether private companies can obtain patents on human genes....
07 June 2010 - by Dr Tamara Hirsch 
Women who inherit genes linked to breast cancer have no greater risk than other women of developing the disease as a result of lifestyle choices, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and alcohol consumption, according to a recent study in The Lancet....
17 May 2010 - by Dr Tamara Hirsch 
Five new genetic variants have been discovered which, in combination, raise the risk of developing breast cancer by 16 per cent, according to a new study in Nature Genetics...

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