Rita Ora reveals terrifying cancer scare: 'A lot of emotions'

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

Rita Ora has opened up about a cancer scare she experienced during her 20s that was prompted by her own mother’s battle with breast cancer.

The 30-year-old singer told The Sun that her mum Vera Ora’s diagnosis in 2005 made her hyper-aware of the possibility that she too might suffer the same disease.

Rita Ora wears a yellow mini dress with a black bow sash at the Prospero Tequila UK Launch on November 23, 2020 in London, England
Rita Ora has opened up about her cancer fears following her mother's own battle with breast cancer. Photo: Getty Images.

‘Cancer affects everyone’

Rita was just a teenager when Vera, 56, became unwell and it was the “Let Me Love You” hitmaker that cared for her parent during her treatment.

Vera, a psychiatrist with the UK’s NHS, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that resulted in her requiring a partial mastectomy as well as chemotherapy and radiation.

Rita revealed that the traumatic experience of looking after her sick mum left her with PTSD and panic attacks which she now manages with therapy and meditation.

“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,” she said.

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The singer's mother, Vera Ora, battled the disease twice. Photo: Instagram/ritaora.
The singer's mother, Vera Ora, battled the disease twice. Photo: Instagram/ritaora.

Rita even underwent testing for mutations to the BRCA (breast cancer) gene to determine if she was at a higher risk of the disease but said her results were negative. Nevertheless, Rita remains vigilant.

“But I still check myself regularly,” she said. “Genetically, there was no history of breast cancer in my family before my mother, but she still got it.”

Rita has spoken out in hopes of creating more awareness around the disease and encouraging others to get routine check-ups.

“Scans in the UK have dropped eighty per cent since Covid struck, and a million women haven’t had any check-ups.

“The backlog of cancer treatment is crazy. And some people are too afraid to go to hospital, which is totally understandable, but you have to go and get checked.”

Everyone carries both the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes but a mutation to either can increase the likelihood that a person might develop breast cancer and at a younger age.

According to the American National Breast Cancer Foundation website, an estimated 55 – 65 per cent of women with the BRCA1 mutation will develop breast cancer before they turn 70.

Approximately 45 per cent of women with a BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70.

Rita was just a teen when she cared for her mum while she was ill. Photo: Instagram/ritaora.
Rita was just a teen when she cared for her mum while she was ill. Photo: Instagram/ritaora.

COVID clap-back

Rita recently copped backlash after breaking COVID-19 restrictions twice in as many weeks.

In late November, she returned to England from Egypt, where she had performed at a ritzy corporate event, only to ignore current guidelines to quarantine for 14 days.

“I recently flew to Egypt to perform at a corporate event for a private company, where my travel party followed protocol and presented negative Covid tests upon entry, as required by Egyptian authorities,” Rita admitted to The Mail on Sunday.

“Upon my return to Britain, I should have followed government advice and isolated myself for the required period. As you know, I didn’t follow government advice and for that I apologised earlier this week. I apologise again, unreservedly.”

Just one week later, she threw a “spur of the moment” 30th birthday party with 30 or more of her famous pals including Cara and Poppy Delevingne, her sister Elena and The Only Way Is Essex star Vas Morgan.

Again, Rita publically apologised for her misstep and reportedly voluntarily offered to pay the £10,000 (AUD$18,150) fine after speaking with police, who arrived on the scene of the party and then later went to her home.

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