Empress Emerita Michiko of Japan, 84, is set to have breast cancer surgery on Sunday, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
Michiko has stage one breast cancer that has no clear signs of cancer metastasis. A mass on her left breast was discovered after a regular health check in mid-July. Tissue examination took place on 2 August which confirmed the cancer.
Her Imperial Majesty will be admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital on Saturday before her surgery the next morning, which is expected to take around four hours. Doctors from both the University of Tokyo Hospital and Shizuoka Cancer Center will conduct the surgery.
Emperor Naruhito’s mother will have the cancerous tissue removed under general anaesthesia; it is believed that doctors will be able to conserve her breast.
The Empress Emerita and Emperor Emeritus Akihito were told of the surgery on Tuesday ahead of the Imperial Household Agency’s announcement. The former empress thanked the doctors for detecting the breast cancer at an early stage.
Her Imperial Majesty underwent presurgery checkups this past Sunday at the hospital where the mass will be removed.
She had noticeably lost a lot of weight ahead of her husband’s abdication in April of this year. He abdicated on 30 April, and the couple’s elder son, Naruhito ascended the throne the following day. Emperor Naruhito will have his Enthronement Ceremony on 22 October with foreign royals scheduled to be in attendance.