Christine's story

Christine has lived her whole life in Shetland. She is a volunteer in VIKING I. As part of the Viking Genes return of results programme, Christine found out in 2023 that she was a carrier of the Whalsay BRCA2 variant, which can cause breast and ovarian cancer.

Christine told us:

I would like to help in any way I can, this is my story since I found out I have BRCA2.

I decided to get my ovaries removed and get a double mastectomy as prevention.

In September I had my ovaries removed, which were clear of cancer.

In October I went for a mammogram where they found out that I have breast cancer. I am so grateful you told me I have BRCA2, as my next mammogram would have been in another 2 years!!!! It might have been a different story!!!!

In January I had a double mastectomy and they removed lymph nodes to be checked and I finally received the all clear in March 2024.

After I found out I had the faulty gene my first cousin told me she had breast cancer. I told her to get checked for BRCA2, so she contacted Lesley from the NHS team in Aberdeen and she is positive. They were going to remove one breast but once she knew she was positive she opted for both and thank goodness as there was also cancer in the other one. She is now going through chemo. Her 2 brothers are also positive.

Viking Genes volunteer Christine

My oldest sister, Pat, died of ovarian cancer about 10 years ago so she must have had the gene. My brother died of a heart attack but his daughter is positive, had her ovaries removed and is getting a mammogram. He must have had it. My next sister died of MND last year and her 3 daughters haven't been tested yet. My next sister is negative and my younger brother is positive.

Out of 6 of us, 4 are positive, 1 is negative and we don't know about the other one yet.

I can’t stress enough the importance of this research, without which I wouldn’t have found out about BRCA2.

Christine found out about BRCA2 because of research conducted in Viking Genes which is to be published in 2024. If you’d like to read more about this research, visit the link below.

Two founder variants account for over 90% of pathogenic BRCA alleles in Orkney and Shetland