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Rita Ora has revealed she was terrified of being diagnosed with breast cancer after her mum developed the disease 15 years ago.
The How To Be Lonely singer said she suffered crippling panic attacks about it as a teen, but was relieved to find she did not have the BRCA gene for hereditary breast cancer.
She told The Sun: “I still check myself regularly. Genetically, there was no history of breast cancer in my family before my mother, but she still got it.”
Ora, 30, said she used online tutorials to help her know how to check her body, and that she was speaking out about her experiences to encourage people to continue to attend check-ups and appointments despite the coronavirus pandemic.
She added: “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. I wanted to protect my mother.”
The star said that even now, each time her mum Vera has a check-up she feels frightened for her all over again, but that she’s learned how to deal with the panic using exercise and meditation, adding: “I am a big believer in therapy – certainly it has helped me a lot.”
Ora explained what it had been like to deal with panic attacks as a teen, saying she couldn’t breathe, her chest felt tight, and she lost her vision.
However, she said she worked hard to make sure she didn’t feel that way regularly and that “music is a healer”.
She also listed aromatherapy and getting checked for peace of mind as ways she was able to stay calm.
Recently, Ora hit the headlines for holding a 30th birthday party with friends during lockdown, and again when it was revealed that she should have been quarantining from a work trip to Egypt at the time.
She made a lengthy public apology and paid a fine for breaking COVID rules, but addressed it again in her interview about breast cancer, saying: “My apology was so sincere and so from my heart.”
Watch: Rita Ora froze her eggs when she was 24