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Kate Middleton is undergoing preventative chemotherapy: All you need to know


NEW DELHI: The Princess of Wales, Catherine, is currently undergoing cancer treatment. She expressed her gratitude for the support she received following her significant abdominal surgery in a video message. Catherine revealed that the surgery led to the discovery of cancer cells, and based on her medical team’s advice, she has commenced a course of preventive chemotherapy.She is in the initial phases of this treatment, as she detailed in her two-minute video message. The specifics of her treatment plan have not been disclosed.
The term “preventive chemotherapy” has raised questions among many, leading to inquiries about its definition and efficacy. Preventive chemotherapy is distinct from actions taken to halt the onset of cancer, which typically involve lifestyle modifications like diet, physical activity, and sun exposure avoidance. Medications such as Tamoxifen and Aspirin are also employed for individuals at heightened risk of developing specific cancers.
Preventive chemotherapy serves as a treatment approach designed to avert the recurrence of cancer post-surgery or after the cancer has been ostensibly eliminated. It’s particularly applicable for localized cancers removed via surgery or radiotherapy but poses a recurrence risk due to potential undetected spread to other body parts. Clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of this strategy, showing that additional chemotherapy following surgery can lead to better relapse rates and increased survival durations.
The effectiveness of this type of therapy varies based on the cancer and chemotherapy involved. For instance, in cases of bowel cancer, preventive chemotherapy has significantly improved survival rates. Typically, this form of chemotherapy spans three to six months.
Chemotherapy works by targeting rapidly dividing cells, primarily cancer cells, although it can affect other fast-dividing cells in the body.
Here’s a detailed breakdown:
Targeting cell division: Chemotherapy drugs interfere with cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. Since cancer cells typically divide faster than most normal cells, chemotherapy effectively reduces the number of cancer cells in the body.
Different mechanisms: Various chemotherapy drugs work in different ways. Some drugs damage the DNA of cancer cells, preventing them from replicating. Others inhibit the synthesis of new DNA or other molecules necessary for cell division.
Administration: Chemotherapy can be delivered orally, intravenously, injected into a specific area, or applied topically, depending on the type of cancer and the chosen drug.
Treatment cycles: Chemotherapy is typically given in cycles, with periods of treatment followed by periods of recovery. This allows the body’s normal cells time to recover from the adverse effects while cancer cells are eliminated or their growth is slowed.
Impact on cancer cells: The goal of chemotherapy is to destroy cancer cells, slow their growth, or reduce the chance of metastasis (spreading to other parts of the body). In some cases, chemotherapy is used to shrink tumors before surgery or radiation therapy (neoadjuvant therapy), or to kill any remaining cancer cells post-surgery or radiation (adjuvant therapy).
Side effects: Since chemotherapy also affects healthy cells that divide quickly, it can cause side effects like hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to infections. These side effects vary depending on the drugs used, the dosage, and the individual’s overall health.
Combination therapy: Often, chemotherapy is used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy to increase its effectiveness.

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