Sarah Ferguson recovering from breast cancer surgery

Sarah Ferguson is on the mend after her successful breast cancer removal surgery. Source: Getty

Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has successfully undergone surgery for breast cancer and is now on the path to recovery.

The 63-year-old grandmother of three received the shocking news over the weekend during her routine mammogram screening.

Breast cancer is a common and potentially life-threatening condition that affects people of all ages, with the average age of diagnosis being 62.

Speaking to BBC News, the Duchess’ spokesperson said her surgery was “successful” and she “is receiving the best medical care”, with her doctors expressing their optimism about her prognosis.

The spokesperson also said the Duchess wishes “to express her immense gratitude to all the medical staff who have supported her in recent days.”

“She is also hugely thankful to the staff involved in the mammogram which identified her illness, which was otherwise symptom-free, and believes her experience underlines the importance of regular screening,” the spokesperson said.

Fergie is well-known for her philanthropic work and advocacy in the healthcare sector. As a patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust, she has actively supported initiatives related to cancer treatment and recovery.

In 2019, she spoke at a Breast Cancer Foundation gala, raising awareness about the disease.

“When I started to work with the Teenage Cancer Trust over 30 years ago, it was because my stepfather had died of cancer and I wanted to do something for cancer patients,” she said.

According to the Cancer Council, in 2022, more than 20,600 people in Australia were diagnosed with breast cancer, making the disease the second most common cancer in the country with an estimated 1 in 8 females and 1 in 668 males diagnosed by the time they are 85.

Early diagnosis is critical in the treatment and management of breast cancer. When breast cancer is detected early, treatment options are more effective and outcomes are improved.

Early detection can also help reduce the spread of cancer to other parts of the body, making treatment less invasive and less debilitating.

According to The Wesley Hospital’s Clinical Nurse Consultant and Breast Care Nurse, Janette Snowdon, “some early signs that should be investigated include, nipple change, nipple discharge, change in shape, discomfort, pain, swelling, rash, dimpling of the skin, feeling a lump or lumps, firmer breasts, redness or inverted nipples.”

Last year, the McGrath Foundation developed a process to make self-checking easy to remember for Australians:

Look – at the shape and appearance of your breasts and nipples in the mirror with your hands by your sides. Raise your arms above your head and have another look.
Feel – all of your breasts and nipples, looking for anything that isn’t normal for you. Feel from your collarbone to below the bra line and under your armpit too.
Learn – what is normal for you! Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, so get to know your normal. See your doctor if you notice any changes.

The Australian national screening program, BreastScreen Australia, also offers free mammograms every two years for women aged 50-74 years, and for women over 40 years, should they request one.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up