Tom Hanks' wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in December, 2014, and in April last year (15) the 59-year-old actress announced she had undergone a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

Now free of the disease, she and Tom spoke about the dark days they faced during Rita's cancer battle while at the Stand Up to Cancer fundraising telecast on Friday (09Sep16).

"I want to say, first of all, that I'm thankful for every single day," she told Entertainment Tonight at the charity event. "It's encouraging. For me, it's all about awareness and about raising money."

Rita revealed doctors failed to spot her cancer at first, and she was forced to get a second opinion.

"I had incredible doctors. I was initially misdiagnosed and I got a second opinion on my pathology (which) showed that I did have cancer," she recalled. "So with that very, very early diagnosis I was able to take care of it and get it all done."

Tom shared his admiration for the Stand Up To Cancer charity, and pleaded with those watching the telecast at home to donate to the worthy cause.

"No one should go through this alone. That not only goes for the person who is carrying it and in bed for a very long time, but there's also the people who love them," the Sully star said.

"This (Stand Up to cancer) is an organisation here that will step up, stand up for you. All you have to do is make a call, get involved. You will not be alone in what could be some of the darkest days of your year."

Bradley Cooper produced this year's (16) telecast at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and he was joined by stars including Emma Stone, Josh Gad and Matt Bomer during the fundraiser.

Highlights included an appearance by Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son Beau to brain cancer in 2015, and Celine Dion's heartfelt performance of new song Recovering, which ended the telecast. Celine’s husband Rene Angelil lost his cancer battle earlier this year.