Television presenter Diana Moran still remembers the date she discovered she had breast cancer. "Friday May 13, 1988 - lucky for some but not for me."

Diana was considering hormone replacement therapy to ward off any risk of osteoporosis. The mammogram she was given as part of the health check showed up "irregularities" in both breasts.

"I felt disbelief, shock and a desperate fear. I knew nothing about cancer. Nobody I knew had it, nobody talked about it. To me the big C spelled death. And on top of everything I felt guilty, as if I'd done something wrong. I was the keep-fit lady - and I was letting down the side."

Hugging her frightening secret, but desperate for information, Diana rang BACUP, the cancer charity who talked her through everything and told her what she needed to know.

Even so, she was dumbfounded when, having confirmed the diagnosis, her surgeon recommended a bilateral mastectomy. I was a physical person. It was my livelihood. I was on television every morning as the Green Goddess.

"How was I going to go on working, how would I eat, pay the mortgage? And who would love me?"

Diana told only her agent and a few close friends. She took extended holiday leave to have the operation which including breast reconstruction. Three months later she was back on television - in her leotard and tights.

She wrote a book* based on a diary she kept of her experiences and although these days she would rather look forward than back, is still prepared to talk about what she went through if it will help other women.

This summer she worked with BACUP on the launch of their new booklet Understanding Breast Reconstruction . "The decision to have reconstructive surgery is always going to be a difficult one," she says.

"But I woke up afterwards thanking God I was alive and had been given a second chance in life. Now I'm not going to waste it."

A More Difficult Exercise, Bloomsbury, pounds 4.99.