Sky News' Jacquie Beltrao, 56, reveals agony of her breast cancer returning during lockdown

JACQUIE BELTRAO, 56, beat breast cancer in 2014, but it returned during lockdown.

Here, the Sky News presenter reveals how she lives with the disease. 

Finding out I had breast cancer, aged 48, on Christmas Eve 2013 was horrific.

My first thought was: “I’m going to die.” The next few days were surreal, pretending to the kids – Amelia, now 23, Tiago, 21, and Jorge, 20 – that everything was OK when it was anything but.

I absolutely lost it in the shower on Christmas night. I was due to work on Sky News the next morning, but there was no way I was in any fit state to do that.

It took hours for my husband Eduardo, 55, a social media manager, and my two sisters to calm me down. It was only when I found out details of the cancer on New Year’s Eve that I relaxed a bit.

It was a small lump in my right breast, it was in its early stages and it wasn’t aggressive, so there was a chance I’d be fine.

My treatment plan went into full swing almost immediately. I underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction in January 2014, within a few weeks of my diagnosis.

Chemotherapy started that March and I also had five rounds of FEC, which is a combination of three different chemotherapy drugs and is known to reduce the chances of the disease returning in the future.

My biggest fear was losing my hair and “looking like a sick person”.

I know that should have been the least of my worries, but I still wanted to look like “me”, so my hairdresser gave me a fab, Meg-Ryan-style short haircut.

I was also given a scalp-cooling contraption to put on for an hour before the chemo to stop the drugs damaging the follicles, which was painfully cold.

The side effects were bad – I felt queasy and exhausted, and got very emotional when my

hair started to fall out anyway. I had a hair-extension system woven in, which helped a lot, as it made me feel more confident to get back on TV soon after the gruelling treatment.


It sounds vain, but I know that lots of women with cancer feel the same – seeing your hair come away in strands is a slow torture.

After the treatment finished, I was considered to be cancer-free, and five years later I was given the all-clear.

But in June 2020, I was absolutely floored when I discovered a small lump below my right collarbone.

Even though it was up near my neck, it was still the breast tissue, and I was told it was stage four breast cancer. Eduardo was on a call when I got the results from my doctor and I ran into the room crying: “How can this be happening to me again?”

It feels to me like cancer never really goes away. It’s sneaky. My oncologist put me on a drug called olaparib and that worked quickly in shrinking the cancer cells.

I’ve been very fortunate that a recent scan has shown that I don’t have cancer any more.

I know I’m not cured, but the scan results are the best I could hope for and I’m so grateful.

There was a time when breast cancer dominated every second of my thoughts, but I am lucky that my work is a huge distraction.

And when I’m back at home with the family, I can talk about it, but not in an obsessive way.

My husband and I discuss everything with our three kids – the good and the bad.


Having breast cancer is like being on a rollercoaster. There are so many ups and downs, it really is the craziest ride of your life – and one that you don’t want to be on.

But you can’t choose the hand you are dealt, and being in the public eye, I wanted to make it my mission to help others.

So I document my journey on social media and am an ambassador for the charity Future Dreams, which funds research and supports those touched by the disease.

Everything I do for them, including modelling in their Melissa Odabash swimwear and Victoria’s Secret underwear campaigns, has enriched my life.

At first I was worried about starting a project that I may not finish because the cancer would beat me, but now I have been given extra time to live, I feel confident I will still be around to see them through.

  •  Jacquie’s an ambassador for Future Dreams (

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