Tonight: Can women save themselves from breast cancer?

On the Tonight programme Sky News Sports Presenter Jacquie Beltrao tells her story of spotting her cancer early. Credit: ITV News

By Julie Etchingham: ITV News Presenter

I was at a great celebration on Friday night - a surprise party for an old friend and former colleague at Sky News, Jacquie Beltrao.

But it wasn't thrown for the normal reasons - it was to raise a glass to her at the end of her chemotherapy for breast cancer.

After a mastectomy and months of horrible treatment, she can finally start putting a frightening six months behind her.

It was great to be there - and there were more than a few tears among the smiles.

In the UK one in eight women will face breast cancer in their lifetime.

We all know that Jacquie is one of the lucky ones. Such is the prevalence of breast cancer that sadly most of us know someone who hasn't made it.

Some 12,000 women a year in Britain don't make it - adding to a staggering figure of 500,000 women a year globally to die of the world's most common cancer amongst women.

There is some comfort that advances in medicine are bringing death rates down - but at the same time the numbers being diagnosed is rising, with increasing evidence that, along with our age and family history, our lifestyles are contributing: stress, booze, diet and exercise.

Kris Hallenga (right) found a lump when she was just 22. Subsequently she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Credit: ITV News

Yes there is a screening programme - but for most women this doesn't kick in on the NHS until we're 50: and 50% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women outside of the screening age.

And how many of us - really - check ourselves properly, or have even found out how to do it?

With one in eight of us at risk, what can we do to protect ourselves and minimise the dangers?

On the Tonight programme this evening, we find out.

Jacquie tells her story of spotting her cancer early; we hear from the amazing Kris Hallenga, who founded the 'CoppaFeel' campaign - whose breast cancer was caught too late - and is dedicating the rest of her life to raising awareness among young women and to getting cancer awareness on the school curriculum.

At Kings College hospital early studies of 3D digital technology are producing positive results. Credit: ITV News

We see the latest potentially life-saving 3D scans which are being tested; and we get some sound advice on our lifestyles and how to check ourselves properly to stay one step ahead of this terrible disease.

Join me for 'Beating Breast Cancer' - Tonight at 7.30pm.

Useful information and links:

GP Dr Ellie Canon’s advice on how to examine your breasts by following NHS guidelines:

  • Know what’s normal for you

  • Look at your breasts and feel them

  • Know what changes to look for

  • Report any changes without delay

  • Attend routine screening if you’re 50 or over

Breakthrough Breast Cancer

NHS Choices

Breast Cancer Campaign

Rethink Cancer

Race for Life - fundraising for life-saving research into all types of cancer

Breast Cancer Care

Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention