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Friday, 22 June, 2001, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Breast cancer claims life of teenager
Sarah McKie
Sarah died after battling against breast cancer
The funeral has taken place of a 19-year-old student thought to be one of the youngest women in the country to die from breast cancer.

Sarah Louise McKie from Haworth, West Yorkshire, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August last year.

Up until three weeks ago she believed that she was controlling the illness which had also claimed the lives of her grandmother and great-grandmother.

However doctors then confirmed that the cancer had spread to her brain.

'She cried'

Her father Malcolm said: "It was a devastating blow because we knew how hard she had fought.

"Last week Sarah came to see her mother. They had a cry and she said to her: 'Mum, I want it to end'.


It's safe to say this is one of the youngest deaths from the disease

Dr Stephen Duffy
"From January she seemed to be going so well. She knew she hadn't beaten it but it was being controlled."

The teenager spent her last evening at home in bed with her mother before being taken to Airedale General Hospital in Steeton.

Mr McKie, 51, and his 48-year-old wife, gave doctors permission to remove the breathing tube which was keeping their daughter alive when her terminal condition became evident.

'Extremely rare'

Dr Stephen Duffy, of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, said: "It's extremely unusual to have a death from breast cancer at that age.

"Even to get breast cancer at that age the chances are one in one million to die from it.

"It's safe to say this is one of the youngest deaths from the disease.

"We do know that there are genetic components in breast cancer. But even taking that into account this is an extremely rare event."

Sarah underwent six courses of chemotherapy.

Last November, after the tumour had receded, she had both breasts removed.

Mr McKie, a warehouse manager, added: "Sarah had great courage. She was an amazingly warm and positive person."

The Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate was planning to return to Huddersfield University in September to train as a teacher.

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See also:

19 May 01 | Entertainment
Rayner recovers after breast cancer scare
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