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Kidderminster mum has op to beat her 'death sentence'
Baring all: Sponsors Chapman and Myers Opticians assistant Michelle Belinis, left, with Helen Greaves and the charity calendar.
A MOTHER at high risk of developing breast cancer has bared all in a calendar before bravely undergoing an elective mastectomy that could help save her life.
Helen Greaves, from Kidderminster, will be having surgery on Tuesday to reduce her risk of developing the disease from 85 per cent to less than three per cent.
The 39-year-old made the brave decision after losing four family members, including her mother, to breast cancer and hopes to inspire her three-year-old daughter Daisy.
The mother-of-two has joined 24 other women, some pre-surgery and others post-surgery, for the calendar to raise awareness of the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline – a 24-hour information line for women with a strong family history of the disease.
She said: “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve got this death sentence over me.
When I wake up from the operation, that’s going to be gone.
“I got involved in the calendar for Daisy. I obviously hope that, by the time she’s 18, they’ll have found a cure for cancer and she’s not facing the same choices that I have had to face. If not, I hope that she knows it’s not the end of the world.
“A lot of the women taking part in the calendar have already had surgery. It’s to dispel the myth that you’re not mutilating your body, all of the women look absolutely beautiful.”
Mrs Greaves’ mother Yvonne Jones, 66, died six years ago when her first child Harry was just six weeks old.
“She knew she was dying when I was heavily pregnant, she didn’t tell me until after Harry was born. It was utterly devastating,” Mrs Greaves added.
Eighteen months later, her aunt Linda Matthews was diagnosed and died in 2010, aged 56.
She added: “That was the point that the rest of my family history came to light.”
Mrs Greaves’ grandmother Ethel died of breast cancer, aged 66, and her great-aunt, Ethel’s twin, Evelyn, died aged 73.
Her mother’s cousin Anita was also diagnosed at the age of 62 but has survived the disease.
Mrs Greaves decided to have surgery after she found a lump in her breast that needed further investigation in September last year.
She added: “The stress of that was indescribable so I asked my geneticist at that point to refer me for surgery.”
Celebrities such as Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie and X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne have all recently raised the profile of elective mastectomies.
Mrs Greaves has been sponsored for the calendar by Chapman and Myers Opticians in Kidderminster as she bared all apart from her glasses.
The opticians, in Vicar Street, will be selling the calendar in store.
Mrs Greaves added: “My family history is so awful I’ve got to do something. I feel very lucky to have this information. I feel very empowered by it.”
To buy the calendar online, visit brcababes. com
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