WHEN Lisa Miller and her mum, Teresa Coates, take part in Southampton Race for Life they will tackle it in the same way they have faced a difficult two years – together.

Two months before her mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in February last year, Lisa had found a lump which various scans and biopsies indicated was harmless.

Several months later and two days after Teresa had finished her treatment, Lisa learned she had breast cancer which earlier tests had failed to pick up.

Lisa, 33, who lives in the city, said: “I believe in self examination.

I had lost weight after a miscarriage and the lump was more obvious. Doctors had doubled checked my results several times when everything came back clear.

“But when the lump became more obvious it concerned me so much I had it removed and it was only then tests found it was cancer.”

She has since faced a mastectomy, chemotherapy and then radiotherapy to be on the safe side.

Lisa, a former pupil of Redbridge Community School and now an administrator for a truck rental company in Southampton, said: “The cancer just didn’t show up. It is unusual but it is important to know that can happen.

“I never thought this would happen to me.

Women know what is normal for them and if they feel anything is not right, keep going back.

Don’t just ignore it.

“I want something positive to come out of my experience and help others”.

Lisa added: “I was lucky I did not have an aggressive cancer. Having waited for seven months for the correct diagnosis, if it had been, I might not have the positive outlook I now have”.

Lisa, who has been married for 14 years to her childhood sweetheart, Roger, 39, had suffered several miscarriages before being diagnosed.

Chemotherapy treatment can bring on an early menopause in younger women and she underwent IVF treatment.

“Things can return to normal after treatment but it is a waiting game. Having a family will have to go on hold as I am taking Tamoxifen for five years. If things don’t happen naturally after that, we have six healthy embryos waiting in hospital.”

Mum and I are really looking forward to taking part in Race for Life this year. I did it last year with friends as mum had been through breast cancer treatment and this year I said to her – ‘Come on, let’s do it together’.

“Research paid for by money raised at Race for Life can save lives and if sharing my story can encourage women to take part, I would be delighted.

“Many cancer survivors talk about ‘their cancer journey’. A journey, to me, has a start and an end. I look back on my experience not so much as a journey but as someone dragging me into a car and taking me on a scary joy ride against my will.

“This was forced on me. I had no choice but to fight it or give up. Giving up was never an option”.

Mum, Teresa, 57, whose diagnosis meant she required a lumpectomy and radiotherapy only is nevertheless shocked that two generations of her family were affected within three months of each other.

Teresa, who has a son Matthew, 36, and another daughter Linzi, 29, who had moved to Canada just before she was diagnosed, described Lisa as “inspirational”.

“Her dad, David, and I are so proud to call her our daughter.

For somebody so young to accept what Lisa faced must have been heart wrenching.

“It certainly was heart wrenching for me to see her go through it. She never complained, apart from being tired.

We both had excellent care.”

Teresa added: “We will walk the 5k and definitely go over the Race for Life finish line together – just like we did the cancer experience”.

Rachel White, Cancer Research UK’s Southampton Events Manager, said: “Lisa and Teresa are an inspiration.

Their story is a first class example of why we want as many women as possible to get involved “Taking part does help fund vital research which is saving lives”.

Race for Life takes place on The Common, Southampton, on Sunday, July 8 and is one of 35 venues across the UK where participants can enter the traditional 5k Race for Life or select a Race 10k route.

Southampton’s Race for Life takes place on The Common on Sunday, July 8. To join Hampshire versus cancer, enter Race for Life 5k or 10k at raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111.