When Sue Kershaw was told she ran a high risk of contracting breast cancer, she decided to take no chances.
She opted for a preventative operation to have both breasts removed, even though regular scans over 12 years had always given her the all-clear.
Confirmation that the move had saved her life came immediately.
As 36-year-old Mrs Kershaw was recovering from the surgery, doctors broke the stunning news that they had found a one-inch lump of pre-cancerous cells in the removed tissue.
The operation was life-changing. It meant I could live my life without fear of getting breast cancer – and it soon proved to be a very wise decision.'
Mrs Kershaw has now been given the all-clear for the disease, although she still has precautionary check-ups.
Her operation, which lasted 12 hours, involved both breast removal and reconstruction.
Sunil Thomas, the surgeon who operated on her at Selly Oak Hospital, in Birmingham, in March last year, said: 'The preventative mastectomy operation is rare and it takes a lot of thought and strength to make the decision when there is nothing wrong with the breasts of the patient.
'However, the risks involving the BRCA gene are significant and many women feel the surgery can give them the peace of mind they need.
'Sue is a very resilient and strong woman who made a proactive decision to reduce the risks of her getting breast cancer.
'She had what is called a skinsparing mastectomy.
'The big advantage of this procedure is that, because there isn't cancer present in the skin of the breast, we only have to remove the breast tissue.'source