32 year old Jemima Olding carries a PALB2 gene alteration, which means she has an increased risk of developing breast cancer. To help raise awareness and spend more quality time with her family, Jemima took on the March 31 walking challenge for Prevent Breast Cancer.

I was tested for the faulty PALB2 gene in early 2023. This was due to my father and also my auntie carrying the gene. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer several years ago. He underwent keyhole surgery to have the prostate removed. My auntie was first diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 50’s and has had breast cancer on 3 separate occasions, undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a mastectomy. She has now been cancer free for 5 years!

Prevent Breast Cancer’s March 31 Challenge, where participants walked 31 miles for the 31 people who lose their lives to breast cancer every day, gave Jemima a goal to work towards each week, and a chance to spend time with her family as they too have been affected by cancer.

Jemima Olding and auntie

In 2023, once it was time for Jemima to be tested for the PALB2 gene alteration, she had some initial reservations.

When I was given the option to have this test I actually put it off for quite a while. I hate to say that it was mainly due to me disliking blood tests and I really was putting it off as much as I could! But when I eventually got round to it, it was absolutely fine. I felt glad that I had gone ahead and done the test, especially with the result.

I’ve always had quite a positive outlook on health and felt it has given me an advantage in a way. I can’t change the result, I can’t change my genes or how I’m made so I feel good knowing as now I can take the necessary precautions needed.

Jemima Olding Beach

And it’s this positive outlook that has allowed Jemima to take control of her health, and consider her options when it comes to the extra precautions that are recommended to women with a PALB2 alteration.

I was given a lot of information by the family genetics team and they were so helpful. I now have annual MRI screenings at my local hospital, I’ll be due to have my second one done this June. From the age of 40 I will also be able to have annual mammograms alongside the MRI’s.

I have been offered a preventative mastectomy. Although this is an incredible preventative, for me personally this isn’t something I would consider at this time. Currently I don’t have children and this would of course affect breastfeeding as an option. So it’s one to consider in the future.

To document her journey and raise awareness, Jemima has set up an Instagram account called my.gene.palb2.

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A post shared by Jemima (@my.gene.palb2)

It hasn’t changed anything. I’ve always thought (and still do) knowledge is power. Now that I’m aware of it I can still live my normal life but take precautionary action if necessary.

Thanks to Jemima for sharing her story with us today. Find out more about the PALB2 Gene and its relationship with breast cancer.

Published On: April 12th, 2024 /

Would you like to share your story?

We’re always looking to speak to people who are interested in sharing their story and experience of breast cancer. It not only helps us spread awareness but can be helpful for others who are dealing with the disease. If this is a cause close to your heart and you would be comfortable sharing your journey with other supporters, and potentially the media, then please get in touch today by emailing info@preventbreastcancer.org.uk

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About Prevent Breast Cancer

Prevent Breast Cancer is the only UK charity entirely dedicated to the prediction and prevention of breast cancer – we’re committed to freeing the world from the disease altogether. Unlike many cancer charities, we’re focused on preventing, rather than curing. Promoting early diagnosis, screening and lifestyle changes, we believe we can stop the problem before it starts. And being situated at the only breast cancer prevention centre in the UK, we’re right at the front-line in the fight against the disease. Join us today and help us create a future free from breast cancer. If you have any questions or concerns, email us today.