The One Show: Rita Ora reveals she’s volunteering for the NHS
Rita Ora, 30, has opened up about her experiences with breast cancer after suffering PTSD symptoms (post-traumatic stress disorder) and panic attacks while she supported her mum, Vera, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2005. The Masked Singer judge revealed she recently had a cancer scare herself, as she had a genome test to see if she was a carrier.
Rita explained: “I see these things saying check yourself for lumps but my mother didn’t have a lump she had a sharp pain, and she still went and got checked.
“I have done the BRCA test (the hereditary breast cancer test) and the gene test myself and, luckily, I don’t have the gene.
“But I still check myself regularly. Genetically, there was no history of breast cancer in my family before my mother, but she still got it.”
The Let You Love Me hitmaker went on to urge women to continue to get checked for the disease during the coronavirus pandemic.
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She continued: “There are loads of tutorials online which I have used. You have to be aware of your body.
“But you can also call your GP to ask. There are loads of ways of accessing the information.
“Scans in the UK have dropped eighty per cent since Covid struck, and a million women haven’t had any check-ups.”
Rita also addressed the fear surrounding going to the hospital at the moment as a result of the pandemic.
She added while supporting The Sun’s Get Checked campaign: “The backlog of cancer treatment is crazy.
“And some people are too afraid to go to hospital, which is totally understandable, but you have to go and get checked.”
Hereditary breast cancer is commonly caused by an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
As a result, if a woman has inherited a mutated copy of either gene from a parent, they have a higher risk of breast cancer.
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Rita’s mum, Vera, who is a psychiatrist with the NHS, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease.
She then had a partial mastectomy after having chemotherapy and radiation.
Rita’s concerns about her mum while she was battling the disease made her spend most of her twenties fearing she would be diagnosed with breast cancer.
The star copes with her worries by working on “mindfulness” and regular cognitive behavioural therapy.
When quizzed on whether she had been to her doctor after experiencing sharp pains in her breast, Rita said: “In the sense of urgency. Considering all of the patients in the world, if you can self-prevent it is the first stage.
“I don’t know if it’s in my head, but it can be a case of a little heartburn and I am like, ‘What is that?’.”
The Brit award nominee added: “Cancer affects everyone. My mum battled it twice, and I had a lot of different emotions. I felt a lot of responsibility to step up and become a strong teenager. I wanted to protect my mother.
“Even now, every time my mother has to have a check-up we get reminded of all those feelings of waiting for the result, and the fear factor of it all.
“Everyone has a way of dealing with their thoughts, and I am a big believer in therapy — certainly it has helped me a lot.”
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