Pierce Brosnan knows the devastation ovarian cancer can cause.
Twenty-two years ago, the former James Bond actor lost his wife, actress Cassandra Harris, to the disease. And now, their daughter, Charlotte Brosnan, has lost her three year battle with the same disease. In a statement to People magazine Brosnan said:
On June 28 at 2 p.m. my darling daughter Charlotte Emily passed on to eternal life, having succumbed to ovarian cancer. She was surrounded by her husband Alex, children Isabella and Lucas and brothers Christopher and Sean.
Charlotte fought her cancer with grace and humanity, courage and dignity. Our hearts are heavy with the loss of our beautiful dear girl. We pray for her and that the cure for this wretched disease will be close at hand soon. We thank everyone for their heartfelt condolences.
Unfortunately, the Brosnans knew this day could come. Not only Charlotte’s mother, but also her grandmother, died of ovarian cancer. This family medical history (shown as a “pedigree diagram” below) strongly suggests an inherited genetic cause for the disease and Charlotte had been receiving regular check-ups to detect ovarian cancer.
Five to ten percent of all cancers, not just breast and ovarian cancers, are caused by genes that are inherited, that is, they run in families. Most of these inherited cancer genes can be detected by a DNA sample from your blood. If you have a family history of cancer, you should ask your doctor to refer you to a genetic counselor for advice. The fact is that DNA research is advancing so rapidly, most doctors can’t keep up. A recent study showed that up to 37% of genetic tests are ordered incorrectly. See this recent (March 2013) story in the Oprah Magazine — “When Genetic Testing Can Be Dangerous To Your Health.”
Everyone should know their family medical history and this should be part of your medical record! For more celebrity family trees, see our previous stories on Lady Gaga, the Kardashians, and Michele Obama.