Sarah Ferguson jokes she has named her reconstructed breast 'Derek'

Sarah Ferguson jokes she has named her reconstructed breast ‘Derek’ as she opens up about her single mastectomy surgery

  • Duchess of York said it was like a having a new ‘protective shield of armour’  
  • Read More: How Kate and Meghan’s fractured relationship eerily echoes Princess Diana and Fergie’s troubled friendship

Sarah Ferguson has revealed she has named her reconstructed breast ‘Derek’ as she opened up about her mastectomy recovery.

The Duchess of York, 63, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and underwent the gruelling eight-hour operation in London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital in June.

In the latest episode of her podcast Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah, the mother-of-two revealed that she is not feeling well enough to be able to travel just yet.

Speaking to co-host Sarah Thomson, the Duchess explained how she is ‘just coming to terms with my new best friend Derek’ and thinks she’ll need another month before she ventures beyond Windsor. 

She said: ‘On my left, he’s called Derek… and he’s very important because he saved my life.’ 

Sarah Ferguson, 63, pictured in April 2023 – just one month before she was diagnosed with breast cancer

During their discussion, the Duchess’ friend asked what had drawn her to the name Derek.

In response, Sarah said: ‘I don’t know, it just made me laugh that I now have a friend who’s with me all the time who’s protecting with his shield of armour.’ 

What’s more, the Duchess joked that she has called her other breast ‘Eric’.

She added: ‘Poor Eric on the right is feeling rather sad because he’s not as perky as Derek on the left, but I’ll get Eric balanced, don’t worry.’ 

During the conversation, Sarah also said she was ‘proud’ of the team of doctors and surgeons who looked after her. 

‘You’re rebuilt,’ her co-host said in response. 

Although the Duchess said she is ‘getting much better’, she admitted that she is ‘balancing the fact that [she’s] got a new model at the moment’.

She said: ‘I’ve gotten new wheels and a new engine and I’ll be taking the car for a bit of a run soon!’

Pictured: the Duchess of York with her Tea Talks podcast co-host Sarah Thompson earlier this year

Over the weekend, the Duchess was spotted out in Windsor for the first time since her breast cancer diagnosis. 

Sarah was pictured driving through Windsor with her husband Prince Harry. The couple – who were married from 1986-1996 – live together at Royal Lodge.

Sarah’s cancer journey began two months ago when a routine test first detected something was seriously wrong before the Coronation.

In early May, Sarah attended an appointment in London for a mammogram. Rather than being given the all-clear, as expected, the technician explained that a ‘shadow’ could be seen in the breast.

A source close to the duchess told Mail on Sunday: ‘Most people usually associate breast cancer with a lump but that’s not always the case.

‘A lump can be detected by the patient, but this was a ‘shadow’, which can go undetected because it’s a wider spread of cancerous cells that can be picked up through screening.

‘In Sarah’s case, a biopsy was taken from the shadowy area of tissue and a few days later the results came back to confirm the diagnosis – breast cancer.’

In early May, Sarah attended an appointment in London for a mammogram. Rather than being given the all-clear, as expected, the technician explained that a ‘shadow’ could be seen in the breast. Pictured in April 

Given the size of the area, a lumpectomy was ruled out and Sarah was strongly advised to go ahead with a single mastectomy, which would eradicate the shadow of cancerous cells across the breast.

Sarah was said to be devastated but determined to press ahead with a mastectomy as soon as possible, telling friends she had ‘no choice’ but to go through with the operation. Christina Choy was the surgeon who carried out the mastectomy.

Once it was complete, consultant plastic surgeon Stuart James, who was once hailed as one of the country’s top breast doctors by Tatler magazine, then took over, performing a breast reconstruction with the ‘DIEP flap’ technique. By coincidence, Mr James is known to Prince William.

In 2013 the heir to the throne attended an operating theatre at The Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea where Mr James explained the procedure of a breast reconstruction.

The special procedure is so complex that only highly skilled surgeons are allowed to attempt it.

It involves making an incision in the abdomen and taking fat from the stomach to form a new breast.

The Duchess of York, 63 – who was pictured out for the first time following her diagnosis over the weekend – appears to be on the road to recovery

Experts say this can take more than six hours because it involves microvascular surgery which involves cutting and then re-joining delicate 2mm blood vessels.

But The Duchess endured a punishing eight-hour operation as surgeons battled breast cancer.

This month, The Mail on Sunday revealed the full extent of her exhausting ordeal including four days in intensive care at the private hospital where the duchess was monitored around the clock.

A friend of the duchess, who is now back at home, said: ‘The surgery was very long – getting on for eight hours – and it was more involved than people think. Today, the message she wants to get out is that she is very grateful to those who saved her and she feels very lucky to be alive.

‘Specifically, the duchess wants to thank the two incredible surgeons Christina Choy and Stuart James who carried out the operation and all the medical team who worked tirelessly to help her.’

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

It comes from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.

When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding tissue it is called ‘invasive’. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

Most cases develop in those over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, though this is rare.

Staging indicates how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast-growing. High-grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.

What causes breast cancer?

A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign. 

The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest X-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focused on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops them from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying.
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 means more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information visit or call its free helpline on 0808 800 6000

Source: Read Full Article