Rita Ora reveals ‘fear’ of being diagnosed with breast cancer after mum’s battle

Rita Ora has spoken out about spending her twenties ‘fearful’ of being diagnosed with breast cancer after her mother Vera Sahatciu battled the disease in 2005. 

The Your Song hitmaker, 30, said she suffered panic attacks after her mother, 56, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer and had a partial mastectomy.

She revealed that she experienced symptoms of PTSD in her teenage years as she felt responsibility to ‘step up’ as she desperately wanted to ‘protect’ her mother.

Cancer: Rita Ora has opened up about spending her twenties ‘fearful’ of being diagnosed with breast cancer after her mother Vera Sahatciu battled the disease in 2005

Rita told The Sun: ‘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.’

She said although she had the BRCA test, the hereditary breast cancer test, and does not have the gene, she still worried that she would be diagnosed with cancer.

Speaking about her anxiety, she explained: ‘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?’.’

Rita urged women to check their breasts and go to a GP if they notice any changes, as there was no previous history of breast cancer in her family.

Worry: The Your Song hitmaker, 30, said she suffered panic attacks after her mother, 56, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer and had a partial mastectomy

Worry: The Your Song hitmaker, 30, said she suffered panic attacks after her mother, 56, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer and had a partial mastectomy

She added that Vera, who is a psychiatrist for the NHS, did not have a lump on her breast but experienced a ‘sharp pain’ before she got checked.

The pop star said she is still reminded of the ‘fear factor’ when Vera goes for check-ups, adding that therapy, exercise and meditation help her deal with panic attacks.

The mother of the singing sensation discussed being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39 while appearing on Loose Women back in February 2019. 

Vera emotionally explained: ‘The journey I had was really tough. At a young age treatment tends to me more rigorous and prolonged. 

‘When it’s diagnosed young, the treatment gets to be more intense, I had chemo, radiotherapy and a mastectomy.’

Check yourself! Rita urged women to check their breasts and said her mum Vera, who is an NHS psychiatrist, did not have a lump on her breast but experienced a 'sharp pain'

Check yourself! Rita urged women to check their breasts and said her mum Vera, who is an NHS psychiatrist, did not have a lump on her breast but experienced a ‘sharp pain’

Rita has recently received huge backlash for hosting a birthday party to celebrate her 30th that flouted Covid-19 regulations.

The Mail On Sunday previously revealed that prior to her birthday Rita flew by private jet to Cairo on November 21 to perform at the five-star W Hotel.

The Masked Singer judge returned the next day and under Government quarantine rules should have self-isolated for 14 days.

Instead, she threw a birthday party on November 28 at the exclusive Casa Cruz restaurant in Notting Hill, West London.

For the party, she apologised with the following statement: ‘Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.

Criticism: Rita has recently received huge backlash for hosting a birthday party to celebrate her 30th that flouted Covid-19 regulations

Criticism: Rita has recently received huge backlash for hosting a birthday party to celebrate her 30th that flouted Covid-19 regulations 

‘It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK… I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk.

‘This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgement. Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.

‘I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first-hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe. 

‘Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise.’

She paid the hefty £10k fine for breaching these protocols, having been reported to the police, who investigated the restaurant, which looked to be closed up. 

Shocking: Rita was forced to publicly apologise after it emerged she'd hosted a 30th birthday party at a London restaurant while the country was in lockdown

Shocking: Rita was forced to publicly apologise after it emerged she’d hosted a 30th birthday party at a London restaurant while the country was in lockdown

But she was then forced into another grovelling apology for breaching strict coronavirus rules, amid the travel embarrassment. 

She said: ‘I recently flew to Egypt to perform at a corporate event for a private company, where my travel party followed protocol and presented negative Covid tests upon entry, as required by Egyptian authorities.

‘Upon my return to Britain, I should have followed Government advice and isolated myself for the required period. As you know, I didn’t follow Government advice and… I apologise again, unreservedly.

‘While I realise the apologetic words of a pop star might not carry much weight, especially one who has broken the rules like I have, I do realise some might seek to follow my example.

Consequence: Rita paid the hefty £10k fine for breaching protocols, having been reported to the police, who investigated the restaurant, which, to any passers-by, looked to be closed up

Consequence: Rita paid the hefty £10k fine for breaching protocols, having been reported to the police, who investigated the restaurant, which, to any passers-by, looked to be closed up

‘My message to them is simple: please don’t. The guilt and shame I’ve carried this week for my mistake aren’t worth it. Instead, continue to listen to the Government advice and the voices of the heroes of the NHS and take the required precautions.’

She added: ‘I hope to one day make it up to the public who have given me so much support over the years and, in particular, make it up to the heroes of the NHS…

‘In the meantime, I will be donating my fee from Egypt to charity. Be better than I have been and learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to learn the hard way yourselves.’

A spokesman for the star, estimated to be worth £10million, said she and her team had all subsequently tested negative for coronavirus.

Guidelines brought in with the lockdown between November 5 and December 2 stated that people must ‘not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household, meaning the people you live with, or your support bubble’.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.

When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men though this is rare.

Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast growing. High grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.

What causes breast cancer?

A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign. 

The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under the microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest x-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focussed on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 mean more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information visit breastcancercare.org.uk, breastcancernow.org or www.cancerhelp.org.uk

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