MUM Carley Hancock is only 26 but has already had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
When the young mum found a lump in her breast last May she expected doctors to discover a cyst.
Instead, it was a quick-spreading cancer that led to intensive surgery and will mean Carley will be taking treatments as a precaution for the next ten years.
Now, she is planning to run the Cancer Research UK Race for Life with her six-year-old daughter, Lexie.
Lexie said: “I want to run the Race for Life because I don’t really want mummy to have cancer any more.
“My friend’s mum died from it and I’m thinking that mummy’s going to too.”
Carley, of Old Town, never expected to be diagnosed with cancer at such a young age.
She said: “I just thought that because of my age it wouldn’t be anything. I haven’t got any cancer in the family and I breastfed both my children which is supposed to help.
“Even the doctors said I didn’t fit the profile and they thought it might be a cyst or something.”
When she visited the doctor, Carley was referred to hospital where she was told to return in six weeks. By then the lump had grown a little bigger, and a biopsy was sent off for tests.
When the results came back, Carley found out she had an aggressive form of cancer which would need invasive surgery to treat.
Last September she had both her breasts removed.
Carley said: “It was really upsetting. But at the same time I felt like they should just take them off for the sake of my life because I want to be there for my children.
“It was also a good precaution in case the cancer comes back.
“I mean, you would always worry that it might come back but there is less of a chance now.”
Following surgery she underwent months of chemotherapy before being told she would have to take tamoxifen tablets every day for the next ten years to prevent the growth of breast cancer.
Now Carley wants to raise awareness that breast cancer could happen to anyone.
She said: “I just want to raise awareness that it doesn’t matter how young you are, cancer really can happen to everybody.
“I just want to urge any woman to go to their GP if they have any concerns with their breasts as it could happen to anyone and also timing is a massive factor.
“I look at life differently now. It’s taught me just to appreciate everything and just enjoy life.”
Carley’s story has already inspired people to donate more than £400 to Cancer Research UK just two days after launching her Just Giving site.
She said: “Our target was £100 but everybody has just been absolutely amazing.”
The duo will take on the 5km race around Lydiard Park on June 1.
To sponsor them, visit www.justgiving.com/Carleyandlexie
HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN TO HELP COMBAT DISEASE
THE Race for Life is Cancer Research UK’s most successful women-only annual fundraiser to support research in all 200 types of cancer.
The first race took place in 1994 and since then it has continued to grow with more and more women taking part.
This year’s Race for Life in Swindon takes place at Lydiard Park on May 31 and June 1.
Women can sign up to take part in either the 10km race on May 31, or the 5km race on June 1.
Entry costs £14.99 for adults and £10 for girls aged six to 15 and boys under 13. Children under six run for free and do not need to register.
The route is on pathways and mowed grass and takes in views of Lydiard House and the lake. It is also suitable for wheelchair users.
For more information or to enter, visit http://raceforlifecancerresearchuk.org/ choose-your-event/ swindon.html?event=1830