AN ALTRINCHAM woman has taken a leaf out of film star Angelina Jolie's book and had a double mastectomy - at the age of 26.

Like film star Angelina, Charley Wood took the drastic action after discovering that she was carrying a genetic mutation that greatly increased her risk of getting cancer.

Her mother, Lorraine, died from ovarian cancer at the age of 51 when Charley was 17. It also killed her gran and great aunt.

Former Altrincham Grammar pupil Charley fondly remembers sitting with her mum watching Manchester United.

“She never explained to me about the gene and it was her brother, Uncle Stuart, who urged me to get tested.”

When Charley discovered she had the gene, her breasts were removed in a six and a half hour operation at Wythenshawe Hospital in July.

That was after her eldest sister, Victoria, had been cleared and her other sister, Vanessa, had been diagnosed. Lymm resident Vanessa, then 33, had the same operation last year.

After a year of referrals and tests she finally met surgeon, John Murphy.

“I absolutely love him, “ she said “He’s funny, too.”

“When I first came round I dreamt I had got cancer. I kept lifting up my gown to look at my boobs. The tape around them was so tight it made them look wrinkly.

“It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest.”

Charley’s boyfriend, Tankie, came up from Cambridge to take her for her operation.

“We played cards until I went to theatre,” said Charley, who grew up in Bowdon from the age of 11.

“He is normally squeamish but he wasn’t.

“The implants feel weird, They feel like two stuck on balloons.”

Since the surgery, she has been cared for at the Hale home of her 'care parents', Di and Ian Sproston.

Although still suffering from sleepless nights, things are looking up.

She’s going back to the house in Timperley, she shares with best friend, Jo, and is hoping to return to work part-time in her podiatry business.

Her blog (

has received 45,000 hits from 75 countries.

She added: “I’d like to have a family. Then, I’ll have a hysterectomy to avoid ovarian cancer.”