The Tragedy Of Kate Middleton's Cancer Diagnosis Explained

In a moving video statement released on March 22, 2024, Kate Middleton revealed she was diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. In January, the Princess of Wales went through abdominal surgery at the London Clinic, and she said the cancer was discovered through post-operation tests. She said her medical team advised her to undergo "preventative chemotherapy" and said that she was in the "early stages" of the treatment.

Middleton said the diagnosis was a "huge shock" to her and her family, and they have been trying to manage it privately. She described telling her children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis — about the diagnosis and expressed optimism about her future. "I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal in my mind, body, and spirits," she said. "Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too. As is the love, support, and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to us both."

Middleton asked the public to understand that she and her family need "time, space, and privacy" while she finishes her treatment. "My work has always brought me a deep sense of joy and I look forward to being back when I am able, but for now I must focus on making a full recovery," she said.

Cancer survival rates in the UK

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, approximately 393,000 people in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with cancer every year. Kate Middleton, who is 42 years old, did not reveal the specific kind of cancer she was diagnosed with. According to Cancer Research UK, 2010-11 data says 50% of people diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales survive for 10 years or more, and survival rates are higher in women than men. However, in both women and men, the five-year relative survival rate — the percentage of people who will be alive five years after diagnosis — for cancer in England, Wales, and Scotland is below the European average.

The research organization said cancer survival rates are typically higher among people who are diagnosed before 40 years old. However, there are three exceptions: breast, bowel, and prostate cancers, where survival is highest in middle age, which is defined as 55-64.

Abdominal surgery

Before her cancer diagnosis, Kate Middleton was hospitalized for abdominal surgery on January 16, 2024. "Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales was admitted to hospital yesterday for planned abdominal surgery," Kensington Palace said in a statement released the following day. "The surgery was successful and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days, before returning home to continue her recovery." At the time, Harper's Bazaar reported that sources told the outlet the condition was not cancerous. Middleton echoed these claims in her March video statement, saying she did not think her condition was cancerous at the time of the surgery.

The abdomen includes your appendix, intestines, bladder, gallbladder, liver, kidneys, stomach, and more. There are many different kinds of abdominal surgeries, including segmental colectomies, small bowel resections, and low anterior resections. As with her cancer diagnosis, Middleton didn't reveal any specifics about the surgery. On January 29, the Palace released an update. "The Princess of Wales has returned home to Windsor to continue her recovery from surgery," it said in a statement (per ABC News). "She is making good progress."

The Princess of Wales is not the first — and likely won't be the last — to add a new chapter to the heartbreaking history of cancer in the Royal Family. A month earlier, in February 2024, King Charles III, who was married to Princess Diana, was diagnosed with cancer.