Soap actress Terri Dwyer has revealed that she’s undergone testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 cancer genes – and will undergo surgery if they come back positive.
The former Hollyoaks star, 43, lost both of her parents to cancer, and admitted that reaching the age that her own mother passed away from ovarian cancer had prompted her to consider her own health.
‘Within the next year, I am going to be 44. That’s the same age my mum was when she died,’ she told the Sunday People.
‘I keep thinking about all the things she missed out on by having her life cut so short and how much I wish she was around to talk to.’
Mum-of-two Terri, who has two sons, Caiden, 11, and Kyland, added: ‘I don’t want my boys to go through the same loss. I want to be there to see them and my grandkids grow up. I’d be having the test for them, not me.
‘I have already thought about what would happen if the test was positive – if it was I would have a hysterectomy and mastectomy.
‘Nobody wants to have their womb and boobs removed. It’s horrendous. But my boys never met my parents and I don’t want to disappear from their lives.’
Terri also explained to the paper how she had initially asked her GP for the testing, but despite her family history, had not met the criteria to undergo the process on the NHS.
‘It’s crazy that I didn’t meet the criteria – I don’t know why,’ she said. ‘My nana died young as well, aged 50, so you’d have thought I’d be at risk – but I wasn’t quite high risk enough.
‘The NHS guidelines have to be stringent or everyone would be getting tested. But at the end of the day it boils down to money.
‘Not only does the test cost a lot, but if lots of women tested positive and decided to have mastectomies and hysterectomies, that would be even more cash the NHS had to find.’
Terri, who is fronting a campaign for ovarian cancer awareness, now plans to have the tests done privately, but said that it quickly becomes expensive: ‘I’ve already contacted a private health care provider but they haven’t provided me with a simple answer about where I can have it done. I still have a mortgage to pay and a family, so the cost will be significant.
‘It should be far more readily available and free of charge – but I am going to pursue this.’