A mum-of-two says her unborn daughter saved her life, after a baby scan revealed a tumour the size of an orange growing in her ovary.

Emma Bannister, who lives in Hitchin, was seven weeks pregnant when she attended an emergency ultrasound after suffering a bleed.

As doctors searched for a heartbeat, the scan highlighted a tumour, which turned out to be cancerous.

Thankfully, Emma was able to carry baby Alana full-term and, after surgery to remove the tumour, she went on to have another baby - Naomi.

The Comet: Emma with Alana around the time of the surgery to remove the tumour.Emma with Alana around the time of the surgery to remove the tumour. (Image: Cancer Research UK)

Now, Emma, 10-year-old Alana and six-year-old Naomi take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, and they are urging people to join them for this year's event in Stevenage's Fairlands Valley Park on July 7.

Sharing her story during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Emma said: "I remember at the scan I was relieved and excited to see a heartbeat, but then the focus shifted and the scans were no longer looking at the baby. That’s when they found the tumour.

"I’d had no symptoms of ovarian cancer whatsoever. Now, my daughter, Alana, says to me, 'I saved your life, because if you hadn’t been pregnant with me and had that scan, you wouldn’t have found your cancer.' She’s my hero."

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is an annual series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids fundraising events, open to all ages and abilities.The Comet: Emma, Naomi and Alana are looking forward to this year's Race for Life.Emma, Naomi and Alana are looking forward to this year's Race for Life. (Image: Cancer Research UK)

 For Emma, Race for Life and Mother’s Day are poignant reminders of how her journey to becoming a mum helped save her life.

She said: "I remember having such mixed emotions when we had the first baby scan. I was so happy to see a heartbeat, but was also concerned about the mass they’d found on my ovary.

"Doctors let me continue with the pregnancy as blood tests suggested it wasn’t cancerous. They gave me regular scans, which was a comfort, but I did worry throughout it what it might be.

"I had Alana in November 2013 and, when she was just three weeks old, the cyst on my ovary twisted and left me in agony. I was taken to hospital and booked into surgery to remove it and to take a biopsy.

"I came home on December 23 and spent my baby’s first Christmas recovering and waiting for my biopsy results.

“In the January, I was told it was ovarian cancer. I was a new mum and I just thought I was going to die.

"The doctors were sure they had removed all the cancer during surgery and that I only needed six-monthly scans to monitor changes.

"However, another gynaecologist suggested I should have an omentectomy - an operation to remove a sheet of fatty tissue that covers your abdominal organs - to ensure nothing had spread.

"I had this carried out in April 2014, and had been urged to complete my family as quickly as I could, so that I could reduce my risk further by having a hysterectomy.

The Comet: To sign up, visit raceforlife.org.To sign up, visit raceforlife.org. (Image: Cancer Research UK)

"I’m thankful that Naomi came along in 2017 and, when she was seven months old, I had a hysterectomy, which plunged me into the menopause.

"It was a really tough time, as I went through the recovery from my surgery, experienced huge hormonal changes in my body, and endured sleepless nights with a young baby.

"I’m through the other side of my cancer now, and it’s nice to celebrate that with the girls.

"The first time we did Race for Life together was really emotional and the girls and I are excited to take part in Pretty Muddy again this year.

"We’re looking forward to getting messy, making our way through the obstacles and heading down the giant muddy slide.

"I’d urge anyone to do Race for Life because raising money for research is so important.

"It doesn’t matter if you’re fast, slow, walking, walking with a pushchair – no-one’s there to judge how fast you run. It’s just about having fun, celebrating and coming together for a really good cause."

To enter, visit raceforlife.org.