Elle Macpherson feared she had cancer after discovering a lump in her breast.

The 51-year-old supermodel has opened up about the scary moment she found the lump on her 49th birthday, admitting it was a ''big warning'' to pay more attention to her health.

Elle revealed to the Mail on Sunday newspaper: ''I thought I had cancer.

''I was away shooting 'Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model', so I couldn't see my doctor and I was really panicking.

''It was four weeks before I got the biopsy results, so it was a long, drawn-out and stressful period of not knowing.

''I was lucky - it was a fibroadenoma [a benign growth], but it was a really big warning. I did some soul searching and realised that maybe I was taking the wrong vitamins and minerals, not eating properly and was too stressed.''

With her cancer scare behind her, Elle is enjoying living life to the fullest with her husband of two years, Jeffrey Soffer, with whom she co-parents her sons Flynn and Aurelius as well as his children from a previous relationship.

The model said: ''We are both hands-on parents although we parent very differently at times. We are deeply committed to our own and each other's children and their education. We have a great understanding - the children come first, and this brings us closer together. Step-parenting is wonderful, it's a true honour and requires a very open heart.''