‘Breast cancer affects all’

For Jacquie Beltrao, football’s connection to breast cancer is clear.

The Sky News sports presenter was overlooking the Wembley pitch at the launch of The FA’s charity partnership with Breast Cancer Care when she said: “One in eight women will get breast cancer at some stage in their life.

“So you can imagine in a ladies’ football team one of those girls will get breast cancer.

What does Breast Cancer Care do?

  • Supports anyone affected by the disease, and their family and friends
  • Provides information and offers emotional and practical support
  • Brings people affected by breast cancer together
  • Campaigns for improvement in standards of support and care
  • Promotes the importance of early detection

“And then if you think of a bunch of male supporters, they’ve all got wives, girlfriends, sisters, mums, aunts – one of those people connected to those supporters will get breast cancer. This is a disease that can affect anyone.”

Arsenal fan Beltrao is speaking from experience. On Christmas Eve last year the 49-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer, and while she has since had successful surgery, she is determined to spread the message.

She added: “If everyone talks about it a bit more it will become a bit less scary. One of those supporters might be talking to their girlfriend one day and she finds something odd.

“If he knows about breast cancer then he might say: ‘Go and get it checked out.’ And that could save her life.

“It’s important to know that if you catch it early this is a very beatable disease. 85 per cent of people survive breast cancer.”

Over the next two years, through its new Pass It On campaign, The FA and Breast Cancer Care have pledged to raise £500,000 and reach millions of people across the country with the charity’s vital breast health awareness message.

“Why would the FA back a campaign for Breast Cancer Care? Well it’s quite simple: so many women in this country are affected by breast cancer that it affects everyone”

Jacquie Beltrao 
Sky News presenter

Beltrao said: “I’m such a fan of Breast Cancer Care and the work they do to help people who have been diagnosed, who are going through it, connecting them with other people. Because it is important to know that you are not the only one.

“To be linked with The FA is fantastic. How forward thinking for The FA to think of this?

“You might think that it’s a male-dominated sport with mostly male supporters then why on earth would they back a campaign for Breast Cancer Care?

“Well it’s quite simple: so many women in this country are affected by breast cancer that it affects everyone.”

For the mother of three it took a trip to Wembley last April to help her feel like the cancer was behind her.

“I was diagnosed on Christmas Eve. It was awful for my husband as it would be for any partner, and it was very difficult telling the children,” she said.

“I had a mastectomy and then felt fine. Then I had another test back and it said that maybe I would benefit from chemotherapy – and that was worse than anything.

“But I remember coming to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final to watch Arsenal v Wigan and thought, ‘It’s not the end the world – it’s just a bit of treatment and I’m going to tough it out.’

“And I’m back at Sky, talking about goals, as if nothing has happened.”

To support the partnership go to breastcancercare.org.uk/passiton