Former student becomes published author

Thursday, 01 February 2018

180131-Clarissa -FosterClarissa Foster, former student at Seevic College, has become a published author after writing a book on the BRCA gene and the management options available to BRCA mutation carriers, after being informed she carried the harmful BRCA2 gene mutation.

Her book, 'Understanding BRCA', was released in November last year and includes options on screening, risk-reducing surgery and chemoprevention, with reference to relevant research.

It also includes her experience, both physically and emotionally, of undergoing a risk-reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries) in 2013 and mastectomy (removal of breast tissue) in 2014 and the surgically-induced menopause which follows.

Clarissa, 39, studied at the college back in 1994-1996, studying Biology, Psychology and French. She then went on to study Human Biology at Loughborough University before continuing her studies at Nottingham Trent University by studying for a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Human Biology, (Further Education). She now lives with her husband and two children in the Midlands.

Talking about her experience at the college, Clarissa said: “I found Seevic to be an outstanding college! The quality of teaching and learning was exceptional and without the great teachers that I had, it wouldn't have been possible to have exceeded the grades required for entry in Higher Education at Loughborough University.

“I would highly recommend Seevic to anyone looking to study any Further Education course!”

During her time at Loughborough her mother fought cancer but lost her battle in 1998. Shortly afterwards, she returned for her final year at university studying the Genetics of Cancer. It was during this time that she became aware that harmful mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes mean that a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer is greatly increased.

Over the years, she discussed with various GPs the possibility of being tested for a BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation as she suspected her mum might have carried a harmful mutation. However, she was not eligible for testing as there has only been one relative with cancer within her family.

At the age of 34 in September 2012, she was informed that her sister had pursued testing privately and had been found to carry a harmful BRCA2 mutation. This meant that she had a 50:50 chance of also being a carrier. Her GP then referred her to a Geneticist who explored her family history and her personal reasons for wanting to receive testing. At the end of this first meeting, the blood sample was taken and four weeks later, in March 2013, was informed that she carried a harmful BRCA2 gene mutation.

'Understanding BRCA' is available internationally via Amazon, Waterstones, Browns Books for students, among other sites.

Find out more about our range of courses, including Biology and Biomedical Science, at our next Open Evening on Tuesday 6 February, 6-8.30pm. Pre-book online to beat the queues.

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