Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
A representative for the Duchess of York, 63, explains, “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 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 rep continues. “The Duchess wants to express her immense gratitude to all the medical staff who have supported her in recent days.”
“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,” adds the representative.
The spokesman also explains that the Duchess recorded a podcast episode the day before she went in for surgery, which is set to be released early Monday morning.
The Sun was the first to report the news.
Fergie’s health news comes two years after she spoke with PEOPLE about another aspect of her well-being — her mental health.
In July 2021, Fergie shared that tabloids in the U.K. around the time she burst onto the scene in 1985 at age 26 were full of cruel headlines, calling her the nickname “Duchess of Pork” and pitting her against her good friend, Princess Diana.
“I had major mental health problems because of the trauma,” the Duchess told PEOPLE 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 added that she spoke with her young daughters at the time and apologized to them for thinking she “destroyed myself.”
“That is really dark,” Fergie continued. “I had to work hard on the self-sabotage to explain it.”
The Duchess also told PEOPLE that when she was pitted against Diana in the press, Diana was “looking beautiful,” while she was seen as “fat, frumpy Fergie.”
At the time, Diana was married to Prince Charles, while the Duchess was married to Charles’ younger brother, Prince Andrew.
“We were just there for people to make a lot of money. At the time we both didn’t realize that,” Fergie said.
“Diana and I both had our own mental health issues, and she and I used to talk,” the Duchess added. “She said, ‘Fergie, remember one thing: When you’re at the top of the pedestal, it’s so easy to fall off. And you’re at the bottom. You just climb up.’ We were positioned as saint and sinner. And the most important thing was to remain robust together, and we did, no matter what anyone wrote.”
Last July, Fergie teamed up with her daughters for a video call with the Teenage Cancer Trust, as founders Dr. Adrian Whiteson and Myrna Whiteson thanked her for working closely with the organization over the past 32 years.
The founders told the Duchess’ daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, that their mother “has such humility and such empathy with patients,” according to a video shared by Hello! magazine.
During the virtual event, Fergie assisted in officially opening a specialist hematology ward at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“This is a special charity that’s so very close to my heart,” Fergie said in a statement. “Cancer doesn’t just devastate a young person’s health, it threatens to take away everything they care about — their identity, their independence, and their dreams. Teenage Cancer Trust’s specialist nurses and youth workers provide the very best care and support during treatment and beyond, making sure that cancer doesn’t stop young people living their lives.”