Corinne’s Story ~ What I have I learnt and what will I do differently

30 Nov 1999

My name is Corinne, I am 38 years old and inherited the BRCA gene mutation from my father’s side of the family. We have a strong family history of breast cancer, including males. My paternal grandmother passed away at 40, and my older sister passed this year at 41 while undergoing high-risk screening and treatment over the last few years. 

At 26, I approached my GP and asked if there was anything I needed to do to better understand my risk given my family history—I was told not to worry about it because it was on my dad’s side of the family. Little did I know, there is a 50% chance of inheriting the BRCA gene mutation from either parent, no matter what side of the family it comes from. 

I continued to live my life and didn’t think about it again until ten years later. At this time, my father was approached by a distant cousin who tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation. This prompted him to get tested as well. Around Christmas time, dad informed us that he was also a carrier of the BRCA gene, and there was a possibility that he passed it on to me and three other siblings.

The topic of our cancer history was taboo in our family and never really spoken about. Still, I needed to find out how my dad’s results could impact my future. So, at 36, I took my health into my own hands and connected with Peter Mac’s Familial Centre. There, I went through counselling to work out, “Do I even want to know the answer? And “Do I want the test?” After opting to take the test, I received the daunting result—I am a carrier of the BRCA gene. 

Discovering this allowed me to quickly put a plan in place to ensure I had the best outcome for myself. I managed my risks by choosing a cancer centre that felt right for me, underwent a prophylactic double mastectomy with reconstruction, and took steps to preserve my fertility due to the increased risk of ovarian cancer. 

All families should be having discussions around their history, health, and well-being. It doesn’t have to be a complicated conversation and could make a huge difference in individual outcomes. Everyone has something that affects their health mentally, physically, and some cancer-related. It’s so empowering to have that knowledge and, in turn, have control to be able to put a plan in place. 

My life would look so much different if I knew in my 20’s that I was high risk. I would’ve preserved my fertility and figured out my values, and what was important to me a lot sooner, I think my sister would’ve too.

This journey has helped me manage my health by prioritising what’s important and taking back some sense of control. Pink Hope has guided me through this by providing information sessions with advice from experts in the industry and a community of courageous, supportive women who get it.

Shortly after receiving my test results, I attended my first Pink Hope Information & Support Day with my sister. It was a wonderful experience with so much to learn, but I found everything so overwhelming— I broke down in tears. The incredible women in that network made sure I was okay and made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this terrifying situation. That’s when I knew Pink Hope was so important and exactly what I needed to support me.

When you shift your mindset, put your whole health & well-being as your priority, and build a team of people who are good for you that can support you through your entire journey— you really can’t lose. 

For me, having this support system was crucial to getting through the next phase of life. Even though I had my family and friends to lean on, I didn’t want to put all my health issues and worries on them. I wanted to spend quality time together just enjoying each other's company—and having a safe space where I could talk about my concerns and explore options allowed me to do that. 

At the beginning of my journey, self-doubt and a negative mindset crept in, which led to a “why me?” mentality. I realised it was okay to briefly think this way, as long as I didn’t stay there. I owned how I was feeling and made sure there was a plan and support process in place to get me through it.

A positive mindset isn’t great all the time. Sometimes it’s good to sit in the negative space, own it, and go through your process to take back control and make yourself feel good again.

When I reflect on my experiences, I often share these two tips with others regardless of their setbacks, and when I feel they need to draw on their resilience or personal grit.  

  1. “It’s okay to restart at zero.”
    This mantra has helped me reset my mindset many times and helps me stay motivated. Having gone through multiple life-changing events, from severe injuries and breakups to battling mental health challenges like agoraphobia— I’ve always said, “It’s okay, it’s a new beginning, and I have an opportunity to restart and rebuild from here. I can start back at zero.”


  1. “What have I learnt & what will I do differently.”
    Regularly reflecting on my hardships means I can better process it all and be more prepared for the future by finding healthy ways to get out of the downward spiral quickly. Doing this helps me set goals for myself about how I want to better my mindset and life.

I always thought being strong and resilient meant that you had to be tough and do everything easily. Navigating through this experience taught me my biggest life lesson—strength comes from vulnerability. To me, resilience stands for complete rawness, asking for help when you need it, making connections with people that matter, setting boundaries to look after yourself, and focusing on what was most important.

Doing those things gave me unbelievable strength and the belief that I could get through it. By sharing my story, I can inspire others to get through it too. My Message of Hope? Take it slow, take each day as it comes, do things that make you feel good, and focus on what’s truly important to you.