As a part of our Stomach Cancer Awareness Month in August, we helped Dr Karen Paringatai tell her story.
Karen is a carrier of the CDH1 genetic mutation that means diffuse-type stomach cancer has a 70-80% likelihood of developing. To combat this, she had her stomach removed. During the awareness month, Karen spoke to a number of media outlets to share her story and raise awareness of the importance of knowing your whakapapa.
She spoke to Women's Day about how reconnecting with her whānau after the death of her father helped her discover the mutation and led to life-saving surgery.
She also spoke to The Hui on the occasion of the 25th "Gene-aversary" where Mabel McLeod and whānau gathered to celebrate 25 years since the beginning of their work to test for the CDH1 gene in their whānau and others. There are 25 whānau known to carry the gene in New Zealand.
Anyone who has concerns about familial stomach cancer, should speak to their GP about the possibility of genetic testing.