Identical twin sisters have discovered they both have breast cancer - but only one of them will survive the disease.

Judith Brownhill and Heather Mole were diagnosed within weeks of each other, but the latter's condition was far more advanced and was classed as terminal.

Both the 54-year-olds had already fought off breast cancer once.

Mrs Brownhill, from Prestbury, Cheshire, initially thought there was a problem when on holiday with her husband in Bermuda in September 2008.

When she returned home she visited her GP as tests later confirmed the cancer had returned.

She asked her sister to get a check-up and her cancer was detected, but unfortunately too late.

Mrs Brownhill underwent bouts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and doses of cancer drug Herceptin, which led to her receiving the all-clear from medics last week.

She told the Manchester Evening News: "As identical twins we've done everything together. We even had the same childhood illnesses, so in a strange way it does not surprise me that we both have the same illness now.

"I should have been punching the air when I finished my treatment and got the all-clear, but instead I was tearful at the thought of losing my sister.

"It's the worst blow you could be dealt but seeing Heather so happy for me makes me appreciate life and want to live every moment for her and make the most of my chance at life."

Mrs Mole, of Mossley, Greater Manchester, said the news was a "huge bombshell" but she was grateful her sister had beaten cancer again.

"It was wonderful news when she told me she was OK, even though I knew it would be tough for her to tell me," the retired nurse told the newspaper.

"It's strange but it felt like a relief as much as anything as I knew she would be there for my son when I'm gone. Cancer is a cruel disease but it is the best news ever that Judith is recovering. I wouldn't want it any other way."

Both women are set to to take to the catwalk on October 1 at the annual St Ann's Hospice ladies fashion launch at the Palace Hotel in Manchester.

The event will help launch Breast Cancer Awareness Month.