Sarah Ferguson last night revealed her shock skin cancer diagnosis, which comes only a few months after she was treated for breast cancer.
The Duchess of York, 64, had a number of moles removed while undergoing breast reconstruction surgery last year. One was found to be malignant.
The mother-of-two was described as being in ‘good spirits’ after the ‘distressing’ news.
Following her diagnosis with malignant melanoma — the fifth most common cancer in the UK — she has urged fans to ‘be diligent’ and check their moles.
Here, MailOnline details the Duchess’ health history.
In June 2023, it emerged that the Duchess had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a successful single mastectomy
Speaking on her podcast Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah, Sarah Ferguson, 64, in July she said she didn’t feel she had been ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’
Breast cancer diagnosis
In June 2023, it emerged that the Duchess had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a successful single mastectomy at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London.
Her cancer nightmare began in the spring, when a routine appointment in London for a mammogram detected something was seriously wrong before the Coronation.
The test in early May revealed a ‘shadow’ in her breast.
A source close to the duchess told Mail on Sunday: ‘Most people usually associate breast cancer with a lump but that’s not always the case.
The Duchess spoke about how Beatrice and Eugenie had responded to her breast cancer diagnosis, saying it had been ‘scary’ for the whole family
‘A lump can be detected by the patient, but this was a “shadow”, which can go undetected because it’s a wider spread of cancerous cells that can be picked up through screening.
‘In Sarah’s case, a biopsy was taken from the shadowy area of tissue and a few days later the results came back to confirm the diagnosis – breast cancer.’
Due to the size of the area affected a lumpectomy was ruled out and Sarah was strongly advised to go ahead with a single mastectomy.
Doctors said a mastectomy would eradicate the shadow of cancerous cells across the breast.
The duchess was said to be devastated but determined to press ahead with a mastectomy as soon as possible, telling friends she had ‘no choice’ but to go through with the op.
The duchess thanked the two incredible surgeons Christina Choy and Stuart James who carried out the operation and all the medical team who worked tirelessly to help her
Christina Choy was the surgeon who carried out the mastectomy.
Speaking on her podcast Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah in July, Sarah said she didn’t feel she had been ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’.
She spoke about how Beatrice and Eugenie had responded to her diagnosis, saying: ‘I think it’s scary for any family member out there, you really start to look at your own demise. It’s a wake up call, and you think, how am I going to deal with this?’
Once the mastectomy was complete, consultant plastic surgeon Stuart James, who was once hailed as one of the country’s top breast doctors by Tatler magazine, then took over, performing a breast reconstruction with the ‘DIEP flap’ technique.
The special procedure is so complex that only highly skilled surgeons are allowed to attempt it.
The 64-year-old was diagnosed with the disease and underwent a successful single mastectomy at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London
It involves making an incision in the abdomen and taking fat from the stomach to form a new breast.
Experts say this can take more than six hours because it involves microvascular surgery which involves cutting and then re-joining delicate 2mm blood vessels.
After the operation, a friend of the duchess, said: ‘The surgery was very long – getting on for eight hours – and it was more involved than people think.
‘Today, the message she wants to get out is that she is very grateful to those who saved her and she feels very lucky to be alive.’
Malignant melanoma diagnosis
Last night the Duchess revealed she is battling skin cancer.
She had several moles removed during reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy in June.
But one mole was identified as cancerous.
A spokesman for Sarah, Duchess of York said: ‘Following her diagnosis with an early form of breast cancer this summer, Sarah, Duchess of York has now been diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
‘Her dermatologist asked that several moles were removed and analysed at the same time as the Duchess was undergoing reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy, and one of these has been identified as cancerous.
‘She is undergoing further investigations to ensure that this has been caught in the early stages.’
Sarah Ferguson has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Pictured: The Duchess of York at Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church
The spokesperson added that having another diagnosis so soon after treatment for breast cancer is ‘distressing’, but she remains in ‘good spirits’.
‘The Duchess wants to thank the entire medical team which has supported her, particularly her dermatologist whose vigilance ensured the illness was detected when it was,’ the spokesperson added.
‘She believes her experience underlines the importance of checking the size, shape, colour and texture and emergence of new moles that can be a sign of melanoma.’
The Duchess is set to be treated by Dr Andrew Furness, a consultant medical oncologist at Royal Marsden Hospital in London, as well as Catherine Borysiewicz, a consultant dermatologist at King Edward VII Hospital in London.