Sarah Ferguson has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The 63-year-old was diagnosed after a “routine mammogram screening” and is now recovering from a “successful” surgery, a rep for the Duchess of York confirmed on Sunday, June 25. “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 statement given to PEOPLE magazine read.
“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,” they also said. “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 rep also noted.
Sarah has long been an advocate of cancer-related charities, including being a founding supporter for The American Cancer Society‘s ‘Great American Weigh In,’ an annual campaign which aimed to educate Americans about links between obesity and cancer in the 90s. In March 2003, she was also present for a congressional briefing with the American Cancer Society. In 2007, the mom to Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie also received a Mother Of The Year Award from the organization. Outside of her work with the US-based organization, she is a patron in the United Kingdom for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Per Sarah’s rep, the Duchess recorded a podcast episode one day prior to her surgery which will be released on Monday, June 26.
Sarah has been open in the past about her health struggles, including the mental health challenges she experienced as a member of the Royal Family during her marriage to Prince Andrew. She wed the son of the late Queen Elizabeth when she was just 26, and quickly befriended her sister-in-law, the late Princess Diana. “I had major mental health problems because of the trauma,” she said to PEOPLE about the headlines she experienced, largely pertaining to her weight and appearance at the time. “It’s taken a great deal of work because I believed every word that the front pages told me. It was self-shame. I’m stratospherically sensitive,” she also said.