'Check New Moles': Sarah Ferguson Urges Followers After Announcing Skin Cancer Diagnosis

"I would urge anyone who is reading this to be diligent," the Duchess of York has said.
Lou Rocco via Getty Images

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, has disclosed that she’s been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma six months after being treated for breast cancer.

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is considered the “most serious,” as it tends to spread more than other skin cancers (like squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas).

The Duchess spoke about the diagnosis on Instagram on Monday morning, saying: “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,” she added.

The Duchess’ spokesperson confirmed the news on Sunday, stating that the cancer was found in moles that were spotted during surgery.

“Her dermatologist asked that several moles were removed and analysed at the same time as the Duchess was undergoing reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy, and one of these has been identified as cancerous,” they said.

“She is undergoing further investigations to ensure that this has been caught in the early stages.”

In her Instagram post, Sarah Ferguson stressed the importance of checking new moles.

“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,” she said in the post.

The Duchess shared in her Instagram post that she had been in Austria’s MAYRLIFE Clinic over the past couple of weeks, but is now returning home to spend time with family.

“I am incredibly thankful to the medical teams that have supported me through both of these experiences with cancer and to the MAYRLIFE Clinic for taking gentle care of me in the past weeks allowing me time for recuperation,” she said.

“I am resting with family at home now, feeling blessed to have their love and support.”

What is melanoma?

The NHS describes melanoma as “a type of skin cancer that can spread to other areas of the body”. It is mostly caused by the ultraviolet light of the sun (or sunbeds).

Those with pale skin, those with lots of moles, and people with a family history of the condition are at higher risk, the NHS says, but they say you can lower your chances of contracting the condition if you wear sunscreen and otherwise protect yourself from UV rays.

Symptoms include new moles, large moles, moles that are uneven in shape, moles that are large, and growing moles.

These may be swollen, itchy, crusty, or bleeding ― you should see a GP right away if you spot these signs, notice new moles, spot changes to existing moles, or have a dark line under your nail that’s not from an injury, the NHS says.