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Fox News
Fox News
8 Jul 2023

Sarah Ferguson opened up about her recovery after undergoing a single mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery.

Last month, the 63-year-old Duchess of York revealed that she had been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. During an episode of her "Tea Talks" podcast with Sarah Thompson that was recorded one week after her surgery, Ferguson reflected on recuperating after the eight-hour procedure.

"It's really just extraordinary to come to terms with a new you," she said on the episode that was released on July 5.

sarah ferguson smiling red carpet

Sarah Ferguson shared an update on her recovery after being diagnosed with breast cancer last month. (Kate Green/Getty Images)

Ferguson continued, "It's extraordinary. You just cannot be complacent with yourself or life or just how lucky you are." 


The "Her Heart for a Compass" author recalled that her doctor had seen a "shadow" when she went in for a routine mammogram. Ferguson said that she then went to London's Royal Free Hospital where she "had a contrast put in my arm" so doctors could further examine the shadow.  Afterward, the duchess said she visited King Edward VII's Hospital in London.

"From the drive from the Royal Free over to the VII, I sort of looked up mastectomy," Ferguson remembered. "And then pathology came back a few days later and then, of course, your mind's already gone racing in every direction. And then [I] get a text saying, 'We think it's mastectomy.' Then your mind plays more tricks. And then you go and meet the reconstructive surgeon and you suddenly think, 'OK, we can do this.'"

Ferguson explained that she underwent DIEP flap, a type of reconstructive surgery that uses skin and fat from a woman's abdomen to create a new breast after a mastectomy. She said that she was "very lucky" that she was able to the reconstructive surgery immediately after the mastectomy.

Sarah Ferguson wearing a white jacket with a golden pattern

The Duchess of York said she underwent a single mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery.  (Getty Images)

The television personality admitted that she became nervous while being admitted to the hospital ahead of the surgery.

"When I walked in on the day, I walked straight into critical care. And that made me a little bit wobbly," Ferguson said.

Thompson recalled that she and Ferguson were texting before and after the surgery. "When you sent me your picture in the evening, you'd come out," Thompson remembered. "I mean, no one has looked that good coming out of surgery, but you looked amazing. But it was a relief that was."

"That lovely morphine smile I had," Ferguson joked.

"I was chatting away," she added. "I kept taking my oxygen mask off and saying, 'Sorry! It's the morphine.' I got away with talking an absolute load of rubbish." 

Ferguson expressed her gratitude to the "amazing" nurses who took care of her and noted that she had written to "every single one of them."

Sarah Ferguson wearing white at home

Ferguson recalled that she was in surgery for 8 hours. (Debbie Hare)

She also urged her listeners to be proactive about their health. "We must make people realize, it's not OK. But if you're going to get it, then catch it quick," Ferguson said. "Do the screening, catch it quick and go and say I can do this."

The duchess continued, "It's not bravery. It's not courage. It's about understanding that you're not going to feel as you did for a bit. So don't try and be a superhero. Take many steps, have the cup of tea, trust people. Very important not to be complacent with every single thing now."

Ferguson, who is famously known as "Fergie," shares two daughters, Princess Eugenie, 33 and Princess Beatrice, 34 with her ex-husband Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, 63.

In addition to her own fears, Ferguson said that her diagnosis had been scary for her family as well.

"I think it's scary for any family member out there," she said. "You really start looking at your own demise. It's a wake-up call, and then you think, 'How am I going to deal with this?'"

Sarah Ferguson walks through the city with daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

The duchess shares daughters Beatrice and Eugenie with her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. (Max Mumby via Getty Images)

However, Ferguson explained that she considers herself "very lucky" that she caught the cancer before it had spread.

"[It] didn't go into my lymph nodes, and I don't have to have chemo or radiation or Tamoxifen," she said. 

Ferguson added, "My job is to get out there strong, healthy and keep spreading the word."

Last month, Ferguson's representative told Fox News Digital, "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." 

Her rep added, "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."

Ferguson's representative continued, "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."

Ashley Hume is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to and on Twitter: @ashleyhume