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Supermodel Naomi Campbell opened a new cancer research unit at a hospital in London last week and spoke about the effects of the disease on her own family.

Campbell’s mother, Valerie, is in remission from a particularly aggressive type of the disease that the unit at Guy’s Hospital will focus on.

“It’s something that’s never really happened in my family, so it was researching, reading a lot of books, finding out about how to take care of her, what was the best treatment and where to get the best treatment.

“It just made me more aware because up until that point I hadn’t got checked on a regular basis like you should. I heard about breast cancer but I just thought it’s never going to happen to me. But now I’ve learnt it doesn’t discriminate, this disease, it can happen to anybody.

“As someone who’s seen breast cancer first hand I know it can be a devastating disease.”

Charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer will fund the £4.2 million unit for five years.

“I’m very proud to be here today to officially open the Breakthrough Breast Cancer research unit,” said Campbell.

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