“My doctor couldn’t look at me. She was absolutely horrified.”
When Katie Warrant was diagnosed with bowel cancer at just 28 years of age, she and her entire family were completely stunned.
Initially the doctors were so sure there would be another explanation for her symptoms, they didn’t even perform the routine test for bowel cancer when searching for a diagnosis.
Katie had surgery, followed by six months of intense chemotherapy, only to be re-diagnosed after a tumour grew around her kidney.
But that wasn’t the most shocking news for the close-knit family.
The next day, her sister Kristal Ford-Spencer, 33, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Kristal told Mamamia she found a lump in her breast but didn’t think it was anything serious until she received a phone call after her mammogram asked her to go straight to her doctor for the results.
“My doctor couldn’t look at me,” Kristal said.
“She was absolutely horrified, as she’d been my doctor since I was about 11 years old.”
When Kristal told Katie she had breast cancer, Katie replied: “Well, of course you do.”
Just five weeks later, their middle sister, Cassie Ford, 31, was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
She was prompted to check her breasts when a professor at the hospital where she worked heard about her family’s health battles and showed her how to perform a proper breast exam.
“That night she tried it and straight away found a lump as soon as she put her hands on her left breast,” Kristal said.
“But she thought, ‘What are the chances? The probability is too high. It couldn’t possibly be’.”
Cassie told Kristal that she too had the insidious disease and days later they told Katie, who was recovering from another gruelling surgery.
“She just couldn’t believe it, as we all couldn’t believe it,” Kristal said.
“Three sisters being diagnosed with cancer in the space of five or six weeks, it’s unheard of.”
Watch the women receive a great surprise as part of ‘Kyle and Jackie O’s Give Back’ segment:
Katie’s DNA contains a genetic mutation called Lynch syndrome passed on from their mother, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 31.
Kristal said doctors were sure that her and Cassie’s breast cancer was related to genetics, but neither tested positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation associated with breast cancer.