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Sarah Ferguson speaks out about ‘shock’ of 2nd cancer diagnosis

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Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, is speaking out after revealing she has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, her second cancer diagnosis within the past year.

“Naturally another cancer diagnosis has been a shock but I’m in good spirits and grateful for the many messages of love and support,” Ferguson wrote in an Instagram post Monday, adding, “I am resting with family at home now, feeling blessed to have their love and support.”

Ferguson — who was previously married to Prince Andrew and is the mother of their two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie — was diagnosed last summer with breast cancer, for which she underwent a mastectomy.

A spokesperson for the duchess said Sunday that Ferguson’s dermatologist requested several moles be “removed and analyzed” at the same time she was undergoing reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy.

One of the moles that was removed was “identified as cancerous,” according to the spokesperson.

“She is undergoing further investigations to ensure that this has been caught in the early stages,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Clearly, another diagnosis so soon after treatment for breast cancer has been distressing but the duchess remains in good spirits.”

Ferguson said on Instagram that she hopes sharing her diagnosis will help encourage people to get checked for cancer.

“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 wrote.

What to know about melanoma

Melanoma is treated by surgically removing the primary tumor and surrounding normal tissue. Immunotherapy and other targeted therapy may also be used to treat advanced melanoma. The estimated 5-year survival for melanoma ranges from 99.5% for localized disease, to 31.9% for disease that has spread. Death rates have been declining largely due to advances in treatment.

Per the CDC, for every 100,000 people, 20 new cases of melanoma are reported each year, and two people die. It is the sixth most common cause of cancer in men and women. Over two-thirds of melanomas are diagnosed among adults 55 and older.

The USPSTF has found that the current evidence is inconclusive regarding screening asymptomatic adolescents and adults by visual skin examination. Those who have a suspicious skin lesion, or who have a familial syndrome, should be monitored more closely.

Avoiding sunburn and using sunscreen can reduce the risk of melanoma. Also avoiding UV exposure from tanning beds or other devices can also lower risk. Having another type of skin cancer, or breast or thyroid cancer increases your risk of melanoma.

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