A family affected by an inherited gene that increases the risk of cancer are urging people to back a national campaign for World Cancer Day.

Maxine Betts from Nelson, tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, a suppressive gene that increases the risk of female breast and ovarian cancer, in 2009.

After losing both her mother and one of her sisters to cancer, she decided to reduce the risk of contracting the disease herself and had a double mastectomy and both her ovaries removed.

She said: "After my mother died and we found out my sister had cancer, I was adamant that if my test came back positive I would get the surgery done, and in 2009 I had both operations to have my breasts and ovaries removed."

Mrs Betts' mother died of breast cancer in 1994 when she was just 60-years-old, and sadly, her sister Jacqueline, also died of the same disease in 2013, aged just 58.

She also has two other sisters, Eileen, who was successfully treated for breast cancer, and Maureen, who is the only sibling from the family to not carry the faulty BRCA2 gene.

The 50-year-old, who works at an electronic assembly store and is married to Kevin, said: "Our family knows only too well just how devastating cancer can be. Losing my lovely mum and sister was awful when they were both so young.

Women with faults in either of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have a 45 to 65 percent chance of developing breast cancer by the time they are 70.

And now, Mrs Betts wants everyone in Lancashire to buy and wear a Unity Band in support of Cancer Research for World Cancer Day on February 4.

Along with her sons, Jack, 18, Ryan, 15, and Daniel 11, she will be wearing the brightly coloured wristband to show solidarity with other people diagnosed with cancer.

Mrs Betts added: "It’s thanks to research that I have avoided a cancer diagnosis and I am still here today and enjoying life with my sons and husband.

"That’s why I want everyone in Lancashire to wear a Unity Band on World Cancer Day – it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise money for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work. "Just by wearing a Unity Band, everyone can help make a real difference to people with cancer."

The Unity Band, which comes in three different colours, costs £2 and is available from all Cancer Research UK shops.