AN ONCOLOGIST whose own experience with cancer led to a career in treating the disease will launch Southampton’s Race for Life.

Dr Hugo De La Pena was told he had incurable lymphoma cancer at 13.

However, just as he was about to begin chemotherapy, it was revealed he had been misdiagnosed and had Kikuchi’s syndrome, which mimics lymphoma but is benign.

READ MORE: Southampton cancer patients to be offered UK-first radiotherapy technique

He decided there and then to study medicine in a pledge to cure cancer.

Dr De La Pena said: “Being told I didn’t have cancer was without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best days of my life.

“Not so much for me but for my family because I could see what an impact the ‘cancer diagnosis’ had had on everybody around me.

“I decided then, I was going to study medicine as a means to an end: to cure cancer.”

Daily Echo: Dr Hugo De La Pena trains near his home on the outskirts of WinchesterDr Hugo De La Pena trains near his home on the outskirts of Winchester

The 44-year-old consultant now treats breast cancer patients at University Hospital Southampton and will be launching and partaking in the city’s fundraising event on July 23 on Southampton Common.

Dr De La Pena said: “Because of research, we doctors are in a great and unique position now to treat patients because we have so many options.

“It used to be the case that new drugs came around and changed clinical practice every ten years, but now, the standard of care and clinical practice changes almost every two years.

“We have lots of cancer kryptonite, but we need more.

“Fundraising is so important to support our local teams.

“At Cancer Research UK, the money goes into a lot of places, from the postgraduate research question and idea to the running of a multicentre international trial, but for me, one of the best places the money goes, is to fund our research nurses.”

Anyone entering Race for Life between now and June 12 can get 50 per cent off their entry fee by using code SUMR50 at

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