Sarah Harding reveals she nearly died of sepsis and was in a coma for two weeks following her breast cancer diagnosis after she put off seeing a doctor due to the Covid crisis
- In an extract from her new book Hear Me Out, Sarah admitted she’d been ‘in denial’ about how ‘something was very wrong’
- Sarah wrote that before being diagnosed the pain ‘got so bad that I couldn’t sleep in a bed’ and ‘her skin started to bruise’
- She said because both her lungs and kidneys had started to fail doctors decided to put her into an induced coma, and she struggled to form speech afterwards
- In August last year, Sarah revealed her diagnosis and told fans she’d been battling the disease for several months with weekly chemotherapy sessions
- If you have been affected by this story, call Macmillan Cancer Support on 0808 808 00 00
Sarah Harding has revealed she almost died of sepsis and had to be put in a coma for two weeks following her breast cancer diagnosis.
Reflecting on her ongoing cancer battle in an extract from her new book Hear Me Out, which was shared by The Times on Saturday, the Girls Aloud singer, 39, also said she put off seeing a doctor because of the Covid-19 crisis.
As she looked back, she said: ‘At first I thought it was just a cyst. The trouble was the pain was getting worse. It got so bad that I couldn’t sleep in a bed. Eventually my skin started to bruise. By now I was terrified.
Shock: Sarah Harding revealed in an extract from her new book released on Saturday that she nearly died of sepsis and was in a coma for two weeks following her breast cancer diagnosis
‘One day I woke up realising I’d been in denial. 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.’
Sarah went on to detail her experience of being put into a coma for an extended period of time, and added that she struggled to form speech even when she was taken out of it.
Sarah explained: ‘With both my lungs and kidneys failing, doctors decided to put me into an induced coma. Even once I was off the ventilator I couldn’t speak properly. All I could do was make noises like a chimpanzee trying to communicate.’
Struggle: Sarah (pictured in 2018) also said she put off seeing a doctor because of the Covid-19 crisis, writing that she’d been ‘in denial’ about how ‘something was very wrong’
Candid: Sarah wrote that before being diagnosed the pain ‘got so bad that I couldn’t sleep in a bed. Eventually my skin started to bruise. By now I was terrified’ (pictured in 2015)
Adding to Sarah’s own words, a source told The Sun on Friday how she delayed being seen by doctors because she was ‘scared’ of going to hospital amid the global pandemic.
The source said: ‘Sarah held back from speaking to her doctors about how much pain she was in because of the pandemic and because she was scared. Sarah is now living with advanced cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy.
‘Along with telling her life story, Sarah wanted to use her book Hear Me Out to urge her fans not to wait to speak to their GP under any circumstances. She doesn’t want anyone to make that mistake.’
Sarah’s representatives declined to comment when approached by MailOnline.
Health battle: Sarah (pictured in 2017) added: ‘With both my lungs and kidneys failing, doctors decided to put me into an induced coma. Even once I was off the ventilator I couldn’t speak’
Frightened: Adding to Sarah’s own words, a source said she delayed being seen by doctors because she was ‘scared’ of going to hospital amid the global pandemic (pictured in 2002)
It comes after Sarah broke her social media silence last month to thank fans for their ongoing support amid her breast cancer battle.
The singer, who hadn’t posted on her Instagram or Twitter accounts since the start of December, took to the image-sharing app to discuss her hospital treatments, as well as to reveal that she had completed work on her autobiography.
She wrote: ‘I know I’m not really that present on here which I promise I’ll try to get a bit better at, as honestly it means the world to me when I come on and see all your well wishes. Thank you for the love and support, on bad days it helps me so much.
Hear Me Out: Sarah recently revealed she had completed work on a book about her life, which has given her something ‘positive’ to focus on throughout her hospital treatment
‘So here’s a little update from me… Mum, the dogs and I had a really lovely but quiet Christmas together, which was different to my usual, but seemed a fitting way to end such a strange year.
‘And since then, in between treatments and hospital visits I’ve managed to finish my book! I can’t believe I’ve actually gone and done it and it’s now at the printers!
‘I’m so excited for it to come out: ‘I can’t rewrite history; all I can do is be honest and wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s really the only way I know. I want to show people the real me. Or perhaps remind them.
Sharing an update: Last month, the singer told her Instagram followers that she had a ‘lovely but quiet’ Christmas with her mother and their dogs, rounding out a ‘strange’ year
”Because, somewhere – amongst the nightclubs, the frocks and hairdos, the big chart hits, and the glamour of being a popstar – the other Sarah Harding got utterly lost. She’s the one who’s been forgotten. And all I want is for you to hear her out.
‘I called the book Hear Me Out because it’s the title of the song I wrote on the second Girls Aloud album and I’ve always really loved it.
‘The lyrics have always meant a lot to me. It’s been lovely revisiting our songs, looking back over photos and writing down memories from my last 39 years. I really hope you might enjoy reading about them too.
She concluded the lengthy post: ‘There’s a link in my biog if you’d like to order a copy. There are some signed ones available too. It’s coming out on March 18 and I can’t wait… argh!!! Sending you all lots of love, S x.’
Book: She also shared further details about her book, which is set to be released on March 18
The singer previously admitted she was finding things difficult, but assured her followers she was ‘fighting hard’ and ‘being brave’, while posting a throwback photograph of herself as a child.
She wrote: ‘I can’t deny that things are tough right now but I’m fighting as hard as I possibly can and being as brave as I know how.’
The post marked the first time Sarah had spoken about her diagnosis since she made the announcement about having advanced-stage cancer in August.
Taking to Instagram, she wrote: ‘Hi everyone. Thank you so much for all the messages of love and support that I’ve received since my last post.
Update: Back in December, Sarah spoke about her ‘tough’ breast cancer battle and revealed she was writing the book about her life (pictured as a young girl)
‘Everyone has been so kind and reading your comments and DMs has been such a huge source of strength to me.
‘I can’t deny that things are tough right now but I’m fighting as hard as I possibly can and being as brave as I know how.
Sarah went on to reveal she had been asked to write a book about her life, which gave her something ‘positive’ to focus on throughout her hospital treatment.
The singer wrote: ‘In September the lovely people at Ebury Publishing asked me if I would be interested in writing a book about my life story.
‘It came at such a good time for me as it’s given me something fun and positive to focus on while I’ve been stuck at home in between trips to the hospital for treatment.
Beloved: The singer is best known as a member of Girls Aloud, who split in 2013 (pictured second left with L-R Cheryl, Nadine, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh in 2009)
‘I’ve nearly finished it now and this week Mum and I have been looking though old photos choosing which ones to include.
‘It’ll be out after Christmas and I’m really proud of it. I hope you’ll like it. Sending lots of love to everyone – I hope you’re all keeping well – S x’
Underneath the post Blue star Duncan James showed his support for Sarah by posting a line of red hearts in the comments section.
Sadie Frost also shared her well-wishes for the star, as she posted underneath: ‘Sending you lost of love [heart].’
Meanwhile, All Saints star Natalie Appleton wrote: ‘We’re all sending you so much love beautiful one.’
‘Hope you’re all keeping well’: Sarah thanked fans for their support when she shared an update on her condition and announced she was in the process of writing a book
Support: Sadie Frost also shared her well-wishes for the star, as she posted underneath: ‘Sending you lost of love [heart]’
Support: Sadie Frost also shared her well-wishes for the star, as she posted underneath: ‘Sending you lost of love [heart]’
Sending love: Meanwhile All Saints star Natalie Appleton wrote: ‘We’re all sending you so much love beautiful one’
Sarah’s devastated Girls Aloud bandmates rallied round her after the singer revealed she had been diagnosed with ‘advanced’ breast cancer earlier this year.
She shared her shocking diagnosis with fans on Instagram, leading to an outpouring of support from an array of stars, including her former bandmates.
Sarah disappeared from the public eye two years ago after achieving notoriety through her wild antics, explosive love affairs and a rehab stint in 2011.
After Sarah announced her diagnosis, pop stars Cheryl, Nicola, Kimberley and Nadine – who enjoyed more than decade of chart-topping success with Sarah in the band – reached out to their former bandmate.
Post: Sarah also shared the same message on her Instagram Stories
Posting on Twitter, Cheryl, 37, shared a single broken heart emoji, while Nadine insisted she will continue to support her old friend during the crisis.
She wrote: ‘I love you!! You have always been able to achieve miracles when needed!! I am here for the all ways & always will be!!!’
Clearly shocked by Sarah’s diagnosis, Nicola tweeted: ‘It goes without saying that this is blindsiding. @SarahNHarding you’re so loved and supported.’
Kimberley, 38, also sent her love to her former bandmate, writing: ‘My heart is broken. You are so strong and brave and we are with you every step of the way.’
Girls Aloud split in 2013, but were dogged by rumours of secret feuds within the band, with Cheryl, Nicola and Kimberley forming a notably closer bond.
Tragic: In August last year, Sarah revealed her diagnosis, and told fans she’d been battling the disease for several months with weekly chemotherapy sessions
Moving: Sarah’s bandmates Cheryl, Nicola, Kimberley Walsh and Nadine all shared their support for the star on Twitter following her shocking news
Supportive: She received an outpouring of support from stars on Instagram, including former bandmate Nadine
Sarah announced her shocking diagnosis along with a snap taken from her hospital bed in August, as she explained she’d been undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions, but the cancer has spread to ‘other parts of her body.’
She wrote: ‘Hi everyone, I hope you are all keeping safe and well during these uncertain times.
‘I’ve not posted on here for so long, thank you to everyone who has reached out to check in on me, it really does mean a lot.
‘I feel now is the right time to share what’s been going on. There’s no easy way to say this and actually it doesn’t even feel real writing this, but here goes.
‘Earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and a couple of weeks ago I received the devastating news that the cancer has advanced to other parts of my body.’
Party girl: Sarah is known for her wild nights out as a member of pop band Girls Aloud, and her life was fraught with love affairs and drama, including a rehab stint in 2011 (pictured in 2005)
Sarah continued: ‘I’m currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions and I am fighting as hard as I possibly can. I understand this might be shocking to read on social media and that really isn’t my intention.
‘But last week it was mentioned online that I had been seen in hospital, so I feel now is the time to let people know what’s going on and this is the best way I can think of to do so.
‘My amazing mum, family and close friends are helping me through this, and I want to say a thank you to the wonderful NHS doctors and nurses who have been and continue to be heroes.
‘I am doing my very best to keep positive and will keep you updated here with how I’m getting on. In the meantime I hope you’ll all understand and respect my request for privacy during this difficult time. Sending you all so much love….xx.’
Kind: In her post, Sarah credited her ‘amazing’ mum Marie (pictured in 2013), her close friends and NHS staff with supporting her through her health battle
Sarah’s post also sparked a outpouring of support messages from stars, including Steps’ Ian ‘H’ Watkins who wrote: ‘Sending HUGE ❤️❤️❤️ Stay Strong xx We’re all behind you xx.’
TOWIE’s Jess Wright also responded with a flurry of heart emojis, while singer Michelle Gayle wrote: ‘Love you honey. xxx’
Bob Geldof’s daughter Fifi wrote: ‘Oh my angel… I’m so sorry to hear this awful news!!! Fight hard and look after yourself – please shout if I can help at all. Much love to you.’
Choreographer Arthur Gourounlian – who is married to Big Brother star Brian Dowling – commented: ‘Je suit désolé. This is breaking my heart. Sending you all my love and here for you always, stay strong and stay positive ma cherie.’
Distant: Sarah has been relatively absent from social media for two years, and it was reported in 2019 that Sarah had ‘quit fame’ (pictured in January 2018)
Great British Bake Off star Candice Brown added: ‘Sending so much love to you.’
Hollyoaks star Gemma Merna also wrote: ‘Sending you lots of love Sarah,’ along with a love heart emoji.
Elsewhere X Factor star and Sarah’s Celebrity Big Brother housemate Amelia Lily paid tribute to the Girls Aloud star on Twitter, writing: ‘Hope you’re OK Sarah, keep fighting thinking of you and sending you lots of love.’
For years Sarah was known for her hard-partying ways, and was dubbed ‘Hardcore Harding’ by her band mates and referred to as the ‘caner’ of the group, as she was often seen swigging from whisky bottles and stumbling out of nightclubs
She checked into rehab in 2011 after ‘hitting rock bottom’ following her split from fiancé Tom Crane for ‘depression and alcohol addiction.’
Pals: Sarah shot to fame in 2002 when she became a member of the pop band Girls Aloud, through talent series Popstars: The Rivals (pictured at the time)
The Sun reported at the time that she turned to alcohol to help her through the painful period.
A source told the publication: ‘She’s been through a traumatic time in her personal life and had to honour her work commitments on top. She needs some time out to clear her head.’
‘Some of her closest friends had suggested she seek help over the last few months, but she refused,’ a source told the Sun.
‘Splitting from Tom has played a huge part in her decision to seek help. She just needs to get herself back on track emotionally. She had hit rock bottom.’
If you have been affected by this story, call Macmillan Cancer Support on 0808 808 00 00.
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?
Breast cancer develops 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 breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.
Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men though this is rare.
Staging means 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 of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps 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 the 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 focussed on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells 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 mean more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.
For more information visit breastcancercare.org.uk, breastcancernow.org or www.cancerhelp.org.uk
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