Sarah, Duchess of York warns: Don’t skip cancer health checks

Sarah, Duchess of York has marked Cancer Prevention Action Week by urging people not to skip their health check ups, warning “days could make the difference between life and death”.

The Duke of York’s ex-wife was diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer in January, less than a year after facing breast cancer.

Meanwhile the King is receiving regular treatment for an undisclosed cancer, which was discovered while he was in hospital for a procedure on an enlarged prostate.

The duchess warned: “Days could make the difference between life and death, so please don’t skip or put off your #healthchecks and urge your loved ones to go to theirs.”

She said she was focused on using her own encounter with the disease to help others.

“I would like to urge anyone who is able to be diligent with their health check ups,” she said.

“I’m determined to do whatever I can to help raise awareness by sharing my experience.”

Royal visit to University College Hospital
The duchess with her daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie (Ian West/PA)

In a post shared on Instagram, the duchess was pictured in a vibrant pink coat and wide-legged pink trousers in a 2023 shoot by fashion photographer Christopher Horne.

She was urged to attend a routine mammogram by her sister after almost cancelling because she was too busy.

The duchess – mother to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie – said her skin cancer diagnosis of malignant melanoma was a shock but she was “in the best hands and feeling positive”.

“After undergoing a mastectomy and reconstruction, I could only hope that I was in the clear, which is why a new diagnosis of skin cancer came as a shock,” she wrote.

“I’m now in the best hands and feeling positive with the support of my family.”

Rachael Gormley, chief executive of World Cancer Research Fund, said: “We want to thank the Duchess of York for sharing her own experience this Cancer Prevention Action Week.

“It is such an important message to get across and will help raise more awareness.”

The fund’s Cancer Prevention Action Week runs from February 19-25, with its Make Your Move campaign encouraging people to find spare moments in their day to fit in short bursts of activity, such as stretches while queuing for coffee or dancing in the kitchen while cooking.

Ms Gormley said: “Physical activity can help reduce the risk of breast, colon and endometrial cancers as well as other health conditions”.