Susannah Reid has revealed why she believes Sarah Ferguson's breast cancer diagnosis is a "wake-up call" for women to attend their screening appointments.
The Duchess of York, 63, shared that she had an early form of the disease following a recent routine mammogram, despite having no symptoms.
The royal is said to have needed persuading to go for her routine screening by her sister, Jane Ferguson.
Following surgery, the duchess is now recovering with her family in Windsor, but during a discussion about her diagnosis on Good Morning Britain host, Reid praised Ferguson for speaking about her health so openly.
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"This morning we want to send our best wishes to the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, because she has revealed – this has come as quite a shock – that she’s undergone surgery because of breast cancer," Reid began.
"It was a routine mammogram on a Tuesday two weeks ago, she said on her podcast," the breakfast host continued.
"She’s now out of surgery, but that’s remarkably fast, isn’t it? Two weeks ago she had the mammogram, she said she was reluctant to go, it’s been very hot weather, it was a bit of an inconvenience, her sister said, 'You have to go.'
"I think the reason that she’s open about this is she wants this to be a wake-up call to people."
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Reid went on to refer to the mammogram process, explaining that though appointments used to be sent out for mammograms, it is now an invitation to make an appointment, which she says is having an impact on the number of women going for screenings.
"As a result, just in London, [around] 12,000 women are estimated to have missed out on breast screenings because of that new open invitations system," Reid continued before detailing her own experiences.
"Now, I received one of those letters, an invitation to go. And, of course, what have I done? Absolutely nothing. I haven’t booked in a mammogram. And I’m 52."
"I absolutely should take that up," she continued.
"I think there will be a lot of women this morning, finding out what has happened to Sarah Ferguson, feeling the same way I did – there isn’t really a firm appointment, I haven’t got time to make one, who will be thinking differently."
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Mammograms: the facts
According to the NHS, anyone registered with a GP as female will be invited for NHS breast screening every three years between the ages of 50 and 71. You'll get a letter in the post inviting you.
You'll automatically get your first invite for breast screening between the ages of 50 and 53. Then you'll be invited every three years until you turn 71.
Those over the age of 71 can continue to have breast screenings every three years by contacting their local screening unit through the NHS website or through their GP.
The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment is likely to be, reducing the risk of more extensive surgery.
Women may also be referred to a breast clinic for a mammogram by their GP if they have symptoms or a breast change that requires investigating.
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Screening is vital in helping the NHS identify cancers at an earlier stage – in 2021-2022 the NHS breast screening programme led to cancers being detected in 20,152 women across England, which otherwise may have been diagnosed and treated at a later stage.
New national figures on Cancer Survival in England, show that 91% of women diagnosed at an early stage of breast cancer, where the tumour is small (stage one), have a survival rate of at least five years.
In comparison, the five-year survival rate for diagnosis at a late stage, where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (stage 4), is 39%.