A Southampton doctor and mum-of-two, who discovered that she carried a faulty gene which led to a shock breast cancer diagnosis, is calling for the next UK Government to help save more lives.

Katrina Cathie, 44, only realised she had the PALB2 gene mutation after a family member volunteered to be tested as part of the 1000 Genomes Project.

It highlighted the mutation in Katrina’s family which puts carriers at an increased risk of developing breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer.

As a result, the paediatric consultant at University Hospital Southampton had an MRI scan which revealed she had already developed breast cancer.

Katrina Cathie at a fundraising ball she organised with her husband and daughters (Image: Family collection)

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After a double mastectomy, she is now well, but is yet to find out if her daughters carry the faulty gene.

With that in mind, she’s backing Cancer Research UK’s Turning Point for Cancer campaign and believes plugging a £1bn gap in funding for life-saving research must be a top election priority for all political parties.

Katrina told the Daily Echo: “For thousands of people like me, cancer is an important election battleground.

"It affects every family, in every constituency, so we must make sure the disease is at the forefront of the minds of all future MPs.

“Thanks to research and the incredible NHS staff who treated me, I’m still here and able to enjoy many more precious moments with my family. But not everyone is so fortunate.

"That’s why I’m supporting this campaign. I want to do everything I can to help prevent others suffering unnecessarily.”

(Image: Family collection)

Cancer Research UK’s calculations reveal that within five years, the next UK Government could help prevent  800 deaths from the disease in the South East.

That’s if a long-term, fully-funded cancer strategy is rapidly rolled out, along with measures to support research and better prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.

With sustained progress, this could rise to avoidance of 4,400 deaths in the region in a decade.

Katrina added: "With so many challenges and funding issues surrounding cancer research and care, it’s vital that saving lives comes before politics.

"When you hear those terrible words, 'It’s cancer', all you want to know is you – or your loved one – have the best possible chance of surviving.

"This election, we must help make this a reality for cancer patients everywhere.”