Kellie Armer carries a mutated BRCA1 gene, which means she has between a 45 and 90% risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. In April, she ran The 2024 London Marathon for Prevent Breast Cancer, raising over £20,000 for the charity.

Next month, she has made the brave decision to have a double mastectomy to drastically reduce her breast cancer risk.

At a young age, I saw my nan get breast cancer. Her mum sadly died of it quite young, but luckily, she fought it off. Due to our family history, she was able to receive genetic testing, and in turn, my mum and I decided to be tested. Finding out I had the BRCA1 gene quickly made me realise I wanted preventative surgery.

When there is a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, it means that it can’t work as it should do. The breast cells are then more likely to develop into cancer cells and the risk of breast cancer is very high. BRCA1 is the gene that the actress Angelina Jolie has a mutation in, and for which she had preventative breast and ovarian surgery. It’s important to note that not everyone with a mutated BRCA1 (or indeed BRCA2) gene will go on to develop cancer.

Kellie continues:

When I initially had genetic testing over 10 years ago, I was offered counselling, but I felt too young and scared to go through with preventative surgery. We completed our family in 2022, and I was able to breastfeed both children. Now feels the right time to have the surgery, and I will be having a double mastectomy in June 2024 (feels real now saying it out loud!).

My mum has two scans a year and I see the impact of this, especially waiting for results. Now she’s getting older, she’s finding more recalls, as well as changes to tissue, so she’s constantly thinking ‘when’ will she be told she has breast cancer.

I don’t want to go through the scans and the impact this can bring to me and my family. I knew I’d always want my breasts off but was initially unsure about what process to go through and the impact this could have on a relationship.

Knowing I have an altered gene however has allowed me the opportunity to lower my chances of getting breast cancer, when some people are not so fortunate.

Now that Kellie has made the decision to have breast cancer prevention surgery, we asked her how she’s found the whole process and if she had any advice for someone in a similar situation:

I contacted my hospital, and as it was during Covid, lots of meetings were over Zoom, but it all felt promising. There are so many different people that you will speak with to ensure you get the knowledge of exactly what will happen. This includes checking if you’re mentally as well as physically prepared for the change.

As a schoolteacher, I wanted to wait till June until I had surgery. Now we’re nearing my surgery, I’ll admit I’m having a few wobbles, doubting if this is the right decision, as well as worrying about what could go wrong.

There are BRCA groups online with so many people that have shared their journeys. It’s great to hear advice from people that have gone through it, and this has particularly helped me. I also think of my children when I am struggling, and the chance to not let them see their mum fighting off an awful disease.

Kellie recently ran The London Marathon, together with her brother, Carl, and her lifelong friend, Jess. Together they have raised an enormous £20,055 for Prevent Breast Cancer. Kellie chose to run for the charity due to having her preventative surgery at Wythenshawe Hospital, the home of Prevent Breast Cancer and is fully behind the charity’s stance that prevention is better than cure:

The London Marathon was such a mixture of emotions. Carl, my brother, said he’d come back a wave into mine and having him run with me really helped. I definitely wouldn’t have achieved the time without him. Throughout the run I was thinking of all those I know that have had cancer, but sadly not the privilege in being able to have preventative surgery – those no longer with us and those that have survived.

I really went through so many emotions and there was a point around mile 23 that got me – knowing I’m so close and this journey will all be over soon. With the finish line in sight, I grabbed Carl’s hand. We’re not a huggy family, but it meant so much crossing the line with him there.

Getting married, closely followed by The Marathon and now surgery – I’m trying to go through everything with a positive head.

I just feel relief that I can now look forward to a happy and longer life.

Thanks so much to Kellie for sharing her story with us today, and for absolutely smashing her London Marathon challenge!

Feeling inspired? We have lots of upcoming events for you to take part in.

Every step you run, walk or climb brings us a step closer to a breast cancer free future.

Published On: May 21st, 2024 /

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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

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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.