Epigenetics is a really exciting, relatively young, field that looks at molecular changes on DNA which tell the cell how the genes should be read. It might be easier to imagine the DNA code as the script of a play, epigenetics are like notes in the margin telling the actor or director how to interpret and enact that script.
I found myself just crying for no real reason, I couldn't sleep, I'd often wake up with tears streaming down my face and I found it really difficult to articulate what was going on. Mortality had smacked me in face again and at least some part of me felt shattered, whether that be my loss of innocence, my sense of who I was, my view on time, my view on what next.
Within the whirlwind that was the first two weeks of my sister being diagnosed she was informed about being tested for the gene mutations BRCA one and two. As my mum had also died reasonably young from the disease and we had reason to believe it was on both her mother and fathers side of the family it seemed very possible that the gene resided in our family.
What if there were breast cancer drugs that we knew worked but patients couldn't use them? What if these drugs were inexpensive and clinically proven to make a difference, but our 'red tape' meant that they were not made routinely available to patients? ... These questions are unfortunately far from hypothetical.
Today is the day that hundreds of thousands of supporters, scientists and people affected by breast cancer across the UK embark on a common and colourful mission, striving passionately to beat this dreadful disease through funding ground-breaking research.
Just as each year we proudly wear Poppy pins to commemorate the individuals who fought in battles for this great nation, so too must we remember those who have lost, are fighting and are yet to fight the greatest battle of their lives against breast cancer
Unfortunately, the heart-breaking reality is that when breast cancer spreads to another part of the body it (currently) cannot be cured. This painful fact is one seemingly unbeknown to most. Recent statistics released by Breast Cancer Campaign showed that less than a quarter of Britons are aware that when breast cancer spreads it becomes incurable.
According to Breast Cancer UK 331,000 people a year were diagnosed with cancer in 2011 in the UK only, that's around 910 people every day, or 38 people every hour. It's so common now that unfortunately 30% of us will experience cancer at some point in our life.
My son found a lump in my breast when he was just three years old. He kept coming to me and putting his head on my right breast and stroking it. I kept thinking, 'What are you doing?' I had a look at my breast, thinking maybe it was something pre-menstrual. I was fit and healthy with no history of breast cancer. I was floored when I was given a breast cancer diagnosis.
Breast Cancer Care recently surveyed women and men affected by secondary breast cancer, which cannot be cured. We wanted to establish if they were in pain because of the side effects of their cancer and treatment. Shockingly, we found that 90% of them were, many of them on a near daily basis.
I was lucky enough to spend an hour or so this morning with one of my childhood, Saturday-morning, television-presenter heroes, Michaela Strachan. Sitting in the green room before we both went on air at London Live, I had a chat with Michaela about her recent experiences with boobs, cancer and all that jazz.
We all may resort to labelling something or somebody, when we do not know much about it, when it is a taboo, when it feels complex and difficult. Labelling can make a situation more manageable and in that way, it can help - a bit.
The research indicates that high breast density is a particularly significant risk factor, with women with the highest density up to five times more likely to develop breast cancer than those with low density.
For many, these fears don't evaporate when they finish treatment. We spoke to post-cancer patients and found that nearly a third (30%*) felt under pressure to 'bounce back' more quickly that they would have liked after treatment. For more than a quarter (28%) the expected 'euphoria' of being given the 'all clear' was actually replaced by the fact they simply felt 'emotionally drained'.
The bottom line is that cancer is not selective. The familities of both of the authors of this blog have suffered at the hands of cancer. Wrestlers, wrestling fans and those from outside the wrestling community can all be affected. Whilst the charities need support, awareness raising is crucial. So we pay tribute to WWE and their efforts during Breast Cancer Awareness Week...
In just over a week's time, pink will be (hopefully) completely unavoidable. The dawn of October brings with it the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month - a month dedicated to increasing awareness of breast cancer, raising funds for research into the disease, and ensuring that issues affecting breast cancer patients remain high on the political agenda.