Michaela Strachan reveals double mastectomy after cancer diagnosis
48-year-old Springwatch host Michaela Strachan has undergone a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The TV presenter was advised to have both her breasts removed after the disease showed up on a mammogram early this year. Strachan revealed that “the tears started to roll” as her doctor tried to explain the next steps in her recovery and treatment.
She told the Mail on Sunday’s You magazine: “I only took in every fifth word or so. The one word that registered was cancer. I didn’t think I felt too emotional about losing my breasts, But knowing I would in the next few days, I found myself wearing tight top and celebrating them. As Joni Mitchell sang, Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
According to breastcancercampaign.org, preventative mastectomies do not eliminate breast cancer risk altogether but are thought to reduce it in BRCA mutation carriers by 90%, which could reduce a woman’s risk to lower than the average for a woman without a mutation in the UK. However, breast cancer can still develop in the chest wall so mastectomy cannot reduce risk by 100 per cent.
Strachan, who is soon to have reconstructive surgery, shared the overwhelming feelings she experienced during her diagnosis. She said: “I couldn’t get my head around the fact that on Monday morning I’d been apparently healthy, by Tuesday I had cancer and by Wednesday I was talking about a double mastectomy. If I’d put mine off, my story could have been a very different one. As it is, I’ve had a tough year and an emotional journey, but I’m not fighting for my life.“
The TV celebrity lives with her partner, his three grown-up children and their nine-year-old son Ollie.
Strachan’s announcement comes days after the NHS reported that breast cancer referrals had more than doubled in the UK. This increase in appointments for predictive genetic tests for cancer has been seen after Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie revealed that she had had a double mastectomy in May last year.
The “Angelina Jolie effect” occurred despite the fact that Jolie was never actually being diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead, the actress was taking a precautionary measure after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, which in known to increase the risk of developing breast cancer by 87 per cent. Her mother and aunt had both died of breast cancer.
Strachan does not regret her decision to have the surgery and as an ambassador for the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer she encourages women to attend regular mammograms.