Cancer gene’s cruel toll on two generations

 

WHEN 61-year-old Anne Fahey found out she had the BRCA1 gene and stage-three ovarian cancer it rocked her family to the core.

Within six months it was discovered that her two adult daughters shared the cancer gene and both were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ms Fahey, Amye Moriarty, 31 and Grace Stone, 33 are now in the fight of their lives, but want to use their battle to help other women.

The Sunshine Coast locals - whose story is reminiscent of late Gold Coast woman Elisha Neave, whose sisters and mother all fought cancer - are undergoing gruelling chemotherapy and radiation.

The women told The Sunday Mail they wanted every woman to know they're not too young to have cancer.

Ms Fahey learned she had an ovarian tumour after seeing her GP for lower abdominal bloating.

"I will never forget the sound of her voice when she phoned me on my husband's birthday and said, 'I think I have ovarian cancer'," Ms Moriarty said.

Anne Fahey has stage-three ovarian cancer, while daughters Grace Stone and Amye Moriarty are both fighting aggressive breast cancer. Picture: Lachie Millard
Anne Fahey has stage-three ovarian cancer, while daughters Grace Stone and Amye Moriarty are both fighting aggressive breast cancer. Picture: Lachie Millard

After having genetic testing, which confirmed Ms Fahey had the BRCA1 gene, she bore the news to her daughters, that they had a 50 per cent chance of having the same gene.

"The statistics were quite overwhelming, but we didn't get too concerned as it was all 'ifs and buts' and we are so young … We were just focused on Mum getting through her treatment," Ms Moriarty said.

But just three months later Ms Moriarty, who has a one-year-old son, was "absolutely terrified" to be told she had a lump in her right breast.

"I just kept thinking about my son and that I needed to be there for him. The few days following my diagnosis were the darkest days of my life," she said.

"Hearing a few weeks later that Grace had breast cancer was surreal."

Ms Stone said she had been self-checking for years, but felt nothing at all, and urged Queensland women to inform themselves of their family history, start screening early and demand ultrasounds, if they're only offered mammograms.

Despite their own battles the family want to forewarn other women. Picture: Lachie Millard
Despite their own battles the family want to forewarn other women. Picture: Lachie Millard

Despite all three suffering the worst side effects of chemotherapy and radiation - nausea, mouth pain and ulcers, fatigue, changes in mood and sleep, they all find their fighting spirit in each other.

"The combined side effects of the chemotherapy, steroids and hormone medications make for a pretty miserable time," Ms Moriarty said.

Family and friends have started a GoFundMe page to help support the women during the intense treatment.

"It has been absolutely incredible, the love, support and generosity that we have received from our friends, community and complete strangers is overwhelming," Ms Moriarty said.

Both sisters will complete chemotherapy treatment in January, before both having a double mastectomy and further radiation.

Visit the GoFundMe page



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