Stella McCartney admits she is terrified she could get cancer like her mother

'I can't get cancer like my mother': Stella McCartney says the idea of leaving her four children without a mum is terrifying

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UPDATED:

00:31 GMT, 4 September 2012

Stella McCartney was just 25 years old when she lost her beloved mother to breast cancer.

Linda McCartney died 15 years ago at the age of 53, three years after she was diagnosed with the illness.

Stella, 41, describes her mother's death as 'the most difficult thing I've ever had to encounter', and says the feeling of loss is with her every day.

Fears: Stella McCartney, with husband of nine years Alashdair Willis, says she has regular testing as a preventative measure against cancer

Fears: Stella McCartney, with husband of nine years Alashdair Willis, says she has regular testing as a preventative measure against cancer

So now, with a husband, Alasdhair Willis, whom she adores and four children of her own, it is perhaps inevitable that Stella should be troubled by the fear that she could one day be struck by the same fate.

'It's really hard because you think, 'I've got to make sure I don't get cancer for the sake of my kids, and I'm going to make sure my sister [Mary, a photographer two years Stella's senior] doesn't get it for the sake of her kids,' she told U.S. Harper's Bazaar.

Talking as she launched a new fragrance, L.I.L.Y. – named after her father Paul's nickname for his late wife, Linda I Love You – Stella admitted she struggles with the threat of the illness.

Inspiration: Stella with father Paul and mother Linda, who she says inspires her ethos

Inspiration: Stella McCartney in 1974 with father Paul and mother Linda, who she says inspires her ethos

'I try to be really preventative and
get regular check-ups. I'm not OK with death but I'm a real believer in
trying to live in the moment.'

Stella, was says she is happiest when at her
Worcestershire home with her children – Miller, seven, Beckett, four, Bailey Linda, six, and Reiley, two, says that her mother's death affects every decision she makes.

The
designer – who takes after her mother in her love of animals and
refusal to eat meat and uses no leather or fur in creations for her
eponymous label – says her ethos is partly inspired by her mother's
beliefs.

'I have huge admiration for my mum. I think I'm keeping alive some of the things she believed in and elaborating on that.'

Stella, who designed the Team GB kit for
the Olympic Games, has said that losing her mother was a 'punch-me moment', adding that she has never felt the same since.

'My mum used to always say, 'Health is wealth. And for me I can't think of anything more important or more true.

'I feel like a
different person since my mum passed away, like I'm driving a ship with
my husband alongside me and we're leading these four children into
unknown waters,' she said.

'I feel like I'm in the thick of it. I mean, the eye of
the storm.'

Happy family: Stella with her parents Paul and Linda McCartney in 1973, as well as her siblings Mary and Heather

Happy family: Stella with her parents Paul and Linda McCartney in 1973, as well as her siblings Mary and Heather