Sarah Ferguson reveals she had single mastectomy


SARAH Ferguson has told how she had a “single mastectomy” after a routine checkup led to a shock breast cancer diagnosis.

The Duchess of York, 63, urged Brits to go to their own cancer screenings after sharing her personal ordeal.

Sarah Ferguson has had a mastectomy


Sarah Ferguson has had a mastectomyCredit: Reuters

Speaking on her podcast Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah, she revealed she had no symptoms before going for a routine mammogram.

And she said she almost missed her check-up, adding that it was her sister Jane who convinced her to get screened.

She told co-host Jane Thomson: “We’re actually taping the podcast today because tomorrow I’m going in for a mastectomy, a single mastectomy. It’s very important I speak about it.

“I don’t mind if no-one wants to hear from me. I am telling people. I want every single person listening to go get checked.

“My sister from Australia said ‘Sarah – get on with it’.

“It’s easy to put it off, to say ‘I’ll do it next week’. She said ‘I need you to go’.”

After the screening, Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer and brought into hospital for a single masectomy.

It meant losing a breast so the cancer couldn’t spread any further.

She added: “I have to go through this operation and be well and strong.”

The Duchess, known as ‘Fergie’, was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone, London, on Tuesday.

She was discharged Sunday morning after six days of medical care.

When asked how she felt about the operation, Ferguson said: “The doubting mind comes in.

“When it comes in I say ‘oh no, I’ve got this’. I’ve studied the mental side of life in such depth so I have the toolbox to help me through this.”

The duchess was delivered the cancer news after a recent routine mammogram only a couple of weeks ago.

But friends have described the operation as “successful”.

One revealed that Fergie has been told that the “prognosis is good” thanks to the “early detection”.

Fergie is believed to be resting at home with her family in Windsor.

A friend said: “It’s been a difficult time but she is very grateful to the medical staff who carried out the mammogram and detected it early and the medical staff who looked after her these last few days, she is incredibly thankful.”

She is said to be back home at Royal Lodge recuperating with her family, including Prince Andrew, 63, daughters Beatrice, 34, and Eugenie, 33, and three grandchildren.

Sarah, a grandmother-of-three, was notably missing this week from attending Royal Ascot due to her cancer operation.

Before going into hospital, the duchess spoke about her diagnosis on her new podcast ‘Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah’.

The conversation was recorded before she underwent surgery and was due to be aired on Thursday but postponed until she was discharged, The Sun can reveal.

She had told close family and friends the diagnosis but wanted her cancer to be kept private until she was released from hospital.

What is a mastectomy?

A mastectomy is an operation to remove a breast as a common treatment for cancer.

The operation may be recommended if cancer is in a large area of the breast, cancer has spread throughout the breast or the chest area is full of pre-cancerous cells.

Some women at high risk of breast cancer choose to have a mastectomy even while they are still healthy, as a prevention.

The operation usually involves removing most of the breast tissue, skin, and the nipple.

If you’re having a mastectomy, your surgeon will usually talk to you about the possibility of breast reconstruction.

The surgeon can create a replacement for the tissue removed.

It’s often performed at the same time as a mastectomy, but can be done at a later date.

The scar from a mastectomy will extend across the skin of the chest and into the armpit, usually hidden by the bra cup.

It will fade over time but never completely disappear. It will also feel permanently numb.

A spokesman for the Duchess said: “Sarah, Duchess of York was recently diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer detected at a routine mammogram screening.

“She was advised she needed to undergo surgery which has taken place successfully.

“The Duchess is receiving the best medical care and her doctors have told her that the prognosis is good. She is now recuperating with her family.

“The Duchess wants 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.”

Ex-husband Prince Andrew has not been seen in public this week and attended only the private aspects of the Order of the Garter Day ceremony last Monday.

Her eldest daughter Princess Beatrice attended Royal Ascot on Tuesday and Friday with husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi.

It is thought they are rallying around the Duchess at Royal Lodge, in Windsor.

Andy and Fergie, who divorced in 1996 but lived together since 2008, have been threatened with eviction from their 31-room mansion on the Windsor estate.

Sarah is a patron for Teenage Cancer Trust and spoke at a Breast Cancer Foundation gala four years ago.

She said at the time: “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.”

In 2021, Sarah visited a clinic in Poland to address the issue of women recovering after receiving a mastectomy.


Sarah’s father Ronald Ferguson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996, and also had skin cancer.

He died from a heart attack in March 2003 aged 71-years-old.

Fergie’s step-father Hector Barrantes, an Argentine polo player, died aged 51-years-old in 1990 after a long battle with cancer.

King Edward VII hospital is a private medical care for the rich and famous and favoured by the Royal Family.

Prince Philip was admitted to the hospital in January 2021and died three months later.

The late Queen Elizabeth II spent a night at King Edward VII in October 2021 for “preliminary investigations”.

In both cases, the public were not told of their diagnoses.

It is understood Fergie wanted her cancer operation to be made public.

The Duchess of York launched her podcast with pal Sarah on June 1 about the “highs and lows of everyday life”.

She spent her first Christmas Day in more than 30 years with the Royal Family at Sandringham last year.

And, although she was not invited to attend the crowning of Charles and Camilla at Westminster Abbey last month, did get a VIP ticket to join the rest of the family at the Coronation Concert.

Every year around 11,500 women and 85 men die from breast cancer in the UK – that’s nearly 1,000 deaths each month.

Breast cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

Around 95 out of every 100 women survive their cancer for one year or more after diagnosis.

Ann O’Flynn, Head of Information and Support at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We’re saddened to hear of Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York’s, recent breast cancer diagnosis.

“We know that hearing the words ‘you’ve got cancer’ can turn people’s worlds upside down in a heartbeat.

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“Macmillan is here to do whatever it takes to support everybody living with cancer, from the moment they’re diagnosed.

“Our Support Line and web chat service is open 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm, and our website and Online Community forums are available 24 hours a day.”

Sarah Ferguson’s podcast cancer revelations in full

“One of the things that I wanted to talk on this podcast about – and I think it’s very important – is that I volunteered to work for the Teenage Cancer Trust 35 years ago.

“I did it because my stepfather died of cancer, and he was just a wonderful man – I adored him. He died at 50.

“I decided I would focus a lot of my attention on three different things.

“One would be cancer – working really hard for Action Research and really get research into cancer and how people deal with it.

“We opened the first teenage cancer unit in the Middlesex Hospital probably 32 years ago.

“These young people with teenage cancer that have now been diagnosed having gone through puberty and looked at their own mortality, and listening to great music, and wanting to play pool – where was their voice?

“And I realised that teenagers didn’t have a voice and that doctors and scientists were looking at grown-up cancer, they were looking at paediatric cancer – but no one was listening to the voice of a teenager.

“I brought my girls into their 18th birthday parties at a teenage cancer unit so that they could see that they’ve got so much to give and they could really help.

“When I took Beatrice and Eugenie – separately, there’s obviously two years between them – they’ve since become ambassadors for life.

“What it taught them was how brave they were and how we must talk about these things.

“My father died of prostate cancer and it was very interesting because he went on the radio.

“He said on the radio ‘Please, please go and get checked.’

“It doesn’t matter what you’re doing – don’t say it’s not going to happen to you. Cancer can be so silent, hiding in the cells.

“Go get screened, go get checked. Don’t wait.

“Most of his friends rang him up and said ‘No one wants to hear from you Ronald’. It was a different era – fascinating, isn’t it?

“We’re actually taping the podcast today because tomorrow I am going in for a mastectomy, a single mastectomy.

“It’s very important that I speak about it. When it airs, you will know that I have been through this.

“What sprung to mind was my father when everyone rang him.

“I don’t mind if no one wants to hear from me because I am telling you that I am doing this.

“I want every single person that is listening to this podcast to go get checked, go get screened. Go do it.

“My sister from Australia said Sarah – get on with it.

“It’s easy to put it off and say ‘I’ll do it next week’. She said ‘I need you to go’.

‘Everybody, please don’t wait. I know Ronan Keating speaks about it a lot on the radio because his mum passed away.

“I really herald Ronan and Storm Keating for what they’re doing – and I’m going to support their charity, if they’ll have me.”

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