The Duchess of York announced her second cancer diagnosis within a six month window, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports
Sarah Ferguson has described her second cancer diagnosis within six months as a “shock” but said she is “in good spirits”.
It is the first time the Duchess of York, 64, has spoken since it was revealed that she had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
A spokesperson for the duchess said on Sunday that she had several moles removed and analysed while undergoing reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy.
One of the moles was found to be cancerous and doctors are working to establish if it was caught early.
In a post on Instagram on Monday, the mother of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie said: “I have been taking some time to myself as I have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, my second cancer diagnosis within a year after I was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer and underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
“It was thanks to the great vigilance of my dermatologist that the melanoma was detected when it was.
“Naturally another cancer diagnosis has been a shock but I’m in good spirits and grateful for the many messages of love and support.”
She said she was “incredibly thankful” to her medical teams, adding: “I believe my experience underlines the importance of checking the size, shape, colour and texture and emergence of new moles that can be a sign of melanoma and urge anyone who is reading this to be diligent.”
“I am resting with family at home now, feeling blessed to have their love and support,” she said.
Ms Ferguson, who is the ex-wife of the Duke of York, shared the statement alongside a photo of herself smiling and dressed a vivid red warm winter coat while leaning on a small bridge over a river.
In June, the duchess was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was found at an early stage during a routine mammogram and she had an operation at London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital, which has treated the royal family for decades.
Following her breast cancer treatment last summer, the duchess urged women not to miss their mammogram screenings, saying she “would not be sitting here if I hadn’t have gone”.
She underwent an eight-hour single mastectomy operation and reconstruction after discovering she had an early form of breast cancer during a routine mammogram – which she almost missed.
The duchess is a patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust and spoke at a Breast Cancer Foundation gala in 2019.
Her elder daughter Princess Beatrice is patron of the British Skin Foundation and has worked with skin cancer patients.
The announcement of her diagnosis comes as the Princess of Wales remains in hospital after abdominal surgery and the King prepares to be admitted to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate.
What is malignant melanoma?
Melanoma skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body, according to the NHS website.
Any diagnosis of melanoma is cancer, even if the term “malignant” is not used before it.
Its “main cause” is ultraviolet light, which comes from the sun and is used in sunbeds.
Other factors that increase the chances of getting melanoma include having pale skin; red or blonde hair; blue or green eyes; a large number of freckles or moles and a family history of skin cancer.
The risk of melanoma increases with age, but compared to most other cancer types, it is also quite common in younger people, say Cancer Research UK.
Symptoms include having a new mole or changes to an existing one. If a mole is larger than normal, has an uneven shape, or is a mix of colours, it could be a sign someone has the condition.
Surgery is the main treatment for malignant melanoma, especially if it is found early, but advanced melanoma can be hard to treat.
For more information on melanoma, or for medical help and support, visit the NHS website here.
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