Following her tragic passing from breast cancer aged 39, Sarah Harding's doctor has praised the former Girls Aloud member for her resilience.
Sarah announced in August 2020 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which by that point had spread to other parts of her body. She passed away just 13 months later.
Speaking to Sky News (via OK!) her doctor, Sacha Howell, a consultant at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, described her death as a "sad loss."
He added: "It was a very, very sad day clearly for her family and friends more so but for myself and for the team on the ward that have nursed her for a good length of time. We are all extremely sad."
Dr Howell continued, "There was an element of fragility to Sarah but also she had a real mettle. She was a really resilient woman."
After confirming she had breast cancer on Instagram, Sarah spoke up about the symptoms she had ignored in the months leading up to her diagnosis. In her book Hear Me Out, Sarah explained how she dismissed pain around her breast as a cyst, before realising she was "in denial".
In an extract from the book, she said: "One day I woke up realising that I’d been in denial. Yes, there was a lockdown, yes, there was a pandemic, but it was almost as if I’d been using that as an excuse not to face up to the fact that something was very wrong."
She continued, "All through the tests, I was, of course, praying that it wasn’t cancer. I think the fact that what I had was so painful gave me some hope it might not be. I’d read that cancer lumps are often not painful, which is why I was hoping against hope that what I had was just a cyst of some kind."
Sarah also discussed finding out her cancer was terminal, and coming to terms with not being able to have children. In her book, she wrote, "It might seem odd to worry about not having children when I don't even know how much of a life I have left, but it's there."
Towards the end of 2020, Sarah revealed she'd been told by doctors that the upcoming Christmas would "be her last." She hoped that publicly sharing her journey with breast cancer on social media would encourage other women with symptoms to seek help from medical professionals.
Our thoughts are with Sarah's family and friends at this heartbreaking time.
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