What We Know About Duchess Of York Sarah Ferguson's Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York and ex-wife of Prince Andrew, has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma. This comes less than a year after her breast cancer diagnosis.

In a post on Instagram, Ferguson thanked her dermatologist for detecting her melanoma early and said she was going to take some time off to heal her body. "Naturally another cancer diagnosis has been a shock but I'm in good spirits and grateful for the many messages of love and support," she wrote.

According to the BBC, Ferguson's doctors discovered the melanoma while she was undergoing reconstructive surgery for breast cancer. They had removed several moles and discovered one was cancerous. After being treated in Austria, she's now back in the United Kingdom.

Ferguson emphasized the importance of early detection. "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."

Melanoma is relatively common

Although melanoma cases have declined among men, more women are getting this aggressive form of skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Rates of melanoma have increased by 3% in women over 50. People who have lighter skin have a higher risk for melanoma than those with darker skin. You're also more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma as you get older, and the average age of diagnosis is 66. Ferguson is 64.

Melanoma is also relatively common in people under 30 years old. Therefore, it's important to find melanoma early so it can be treated. While an annual visit to the dermatologist can keep an eye on any suspicious moles, some doctors recommend checking your skin once a month. Look for any spots or freckles on your skin that might emerge and change. In particular, a mole that lacks symmetry and has an irregular border might be cancerous. Moles that have different colors and are larger than a pencil eraser should also be reported to your doctor.