Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson has successfully undergone a single mastectomy after a recent breast-cancer diagnosis, People reports. The Duchess of York and ex-wife to the disgraced Prince Andrew shared news of her diagnosis and surgery in a prerecorded episode of her podcast with co-host Sarah Thomson, Tea Talks With the Duchess and Sarah. “It’s very important that I speak about it,” said Ferguson, who emphasized the importance of routine mammograms. “I’m telling people out there, because I want every person listening to this podcast to get checked.”
A representative for Ferguson confirmed that the duchess’s operation took place at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London earlier this week, sharing that the duchess — who, postdivorce, continues to live with Andrew in Windsor — is now recovering at home with family and “doctors have told her the prognosis is good.” During Monday’s Tea Talks episode, which was taped the day before Ferguson’s operation, the duchess said she was diagnosed with what her representative said was an “early form of breast cancer” during a routine exam she’d initially considered canceling. “It was after a bank holiday … it was a hot day, and I didn’t feel like going to London,” said Ferguson, who thanked her sister, Jane, for urging her to go anyway.
Per the New York Times, Britain’s National Health Service offers routine mammograms to women 50 and older. The U.S. followed the same guidelines before the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force revised them this year, recommending instead that women 40 and older get screened.
The duchess says she’s taking her diagnosis as “a real gift for me to change my life” and an inspiration to get fit and healthy. “There’s no choice. I can’t make another excuse,” she said on her podcast. “I have to get go through this operation, and I have to be well and strong.” In a statement to People, Ferguson’s representative said the duchess is “hugely thankful to the staff involved in the mammogram which identified her illness, which was otherwise symptom-free.”