SHE HAS been battling cancer for ten years – but still thinks of herself as one of the luckiest people alive.

Michelle Amey was just 31 when she discovered she had advanced melanoma and embarked on a gruelling decade-long struggle in which the disease has ravaged her body.

At one point her husband Stuart, 41, was given the devastating news that he was likely to lose his wife within nine months.

The situation worsened when a scan revealed multiple tumours on Michelle’s brain, a condition that results in the average sufferer being given a life expectancy of just six weeks.

But that was almost eight years ago.

Today the 41-year-old mother of two Michelle is continuing to defy the odds and astound doctors, who are managing to control her cancer thanks to the huge strides being made in research.

She feels both blessed and privileged to be receiving the expert care provided at Southampton, one of 14 centres funded by Cancer Research UK.

Michelle, a human resources manager at New Milton firm NamGrass, first saw a specialist in 2007.

She said: “I never thought about it being cancer and when he said the word the shock hit me – I remember my body just went numb."

Surgeons removed Michelle's lymph nodes but a routine scan in 2010 revealed that the cancer was in her brain and adrenal gland.

She went back under the knife twice – once to remove the largest cancerous tumours from her brain. The second operation was to remove the tumour in her adrenal gland, which resulted in her having a kidney taken out as well.

In 2012 the cancer was detected in Michelle’s liver.

Two years later the new drug she was taking had stopped working. Since then she has benefitted from three further new treatments, including an immunotherapy drug, and so far things are going well.

Michelle said: “I wouldn’t be sat here today enjoying more time with my family if it wasn’t for the work of Cancer Research UK.

“I lost my aunty to melanoma in early 2000. At that point there was absolutely nothing they could do for her. In 18 years this has all changed so much and I am so thankful."

Michelle's two children are 13-year-old Charlie and ten-year-old George.

She said: "My boys don’t know any different - they have grown up with mummy having cancer.

"But I am here and able to watch them grow and enjoy precious family time with them and Stuart, who has just been amazing.

“I do believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and I am determined to carry on fighting and never give up.”