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What We Know About Princess Kate’s Cancer Diagnosis


When Catherine, Princess of Wales, revealed on Friday evening that she had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy, it brought to a head months of speculation about her well-being.

Her prolonged absence from public life in recent months had driven a wave of theories and wild rumors about her health, her whereabouts and even the state of her marriage to Prince William.

Here’s what we know about her diagnosis and treatment.

The princess has not disclosed the type of cancer she has, but she underwent abdominal surgery in mid-January. At that time, Kensington Palace revealed few details about the surgery, but said that it had been successful and that her condition was “not cancerous.”

Catherine was released from hospital on Jan. 29, and officials said then that she would not return to public duties until after Easter, which falls on March 31.

On Friday, Catherine said while it had been thought at the time that her condition was noncancerous, “Tests after the operation found that cancer had been present.”

“This of course came as a huge shock,” she said.

Oncologists say that the discovery of cancer during another procedure is unfortunately common.

After recovering from her abdominal surgery, Catherine said, she had heeded her doctors’ advice to undergo a course of “preventative chemotherapy.”

“I am now in the early stages of that treatment,” she said on Friday.

Doctors say the type of treatment she described is known as adjuvant chemotherapy, a follow-up therapy after treatments like surgery.

According to oncologists, adjuvant chemotherapy is used to target microscopic cancer cells that may be invisible to the eye and remain in the body after a primary treatment. That can lessen or avoid the chance of cancer returning.

“The hope is that this will prevent further problems,” Dr. Eric Winer, the director of the Yale Cancer Center, said of adjuvant chemotherapy.

Catherine did not share how long her course of chemotherapy was scheduled to take. A treatment is usually prescribed for several months, but that can vary depending on the condition.

On Friday, the princess said she was feeling well, prioritizing her healing and “getting stronger every day.”

“I look forward to being back when I am able,” she said. “But for now I must focus on making a full recovery.”

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