The actress Nicole Kidman visited Madame Tussauds in London yesterday to launch a breast cancer awareness campaign.

Kidman, 39, is the face of Cancer Research UK's campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Her mother, Janelle, was diagnosed with breast cancer when Kidman was 17 and went on to beat the disease. "As someone whose family has personally been affected by the disease, I can't stress enough how important it is that women get to know and understand what is normal for their body," she said.

"I am honoured to mark the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I hope that this Cancer Research UK campaign will raise awareness of breast cancer amongst women of all ages and encourage them to report any unusual changes and go for screening if they are over 50. Together we will beat cancer."

She said her mother's cancer had affected her "in a way I will never forget and it has certainly made me someone who wants to help eradicate this disease".

One in nine women will develop breast cancer. More than 42,000 cases are diagnosed each year, mostly in women over 50.