Kate Middleton Is Receiving Preventative Chemotherapy: Here's What That Means

Kate Middleton shared in a March 22 video message that doctors found cancer after her abdominal surgery in January, and she’s now in the early stages of preventive chemotherapy.

By Alyssa Morin Mar 22, 2024 11:48 PMTags
Watch: Kate Middleton's Cancer Diagnosis: Everything We Know

Kate Middleton is sharing insight into how she's prioritizing her health.

The Princess of Wales recently announced that she was diagnosed with cancer and is now getting "preventative chemotherapy" to treat it. 

"In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London," she said in a video posted on her and husband Prince William's social media accounts March 22, "and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present."

Although Kate didn't publicly disclose the type of cancer doctors found, a Kensington Palace representative said she began chemotherapy in late February.

"It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment," the 42-year-old noted, adding, "My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy, and I'm now in the early stages of that treatment."

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While Kate didn't share any other details about her cancer diagnosis or how advanced it is, preventative chemotherapy—most commonly known as adjuvant chemotherapy—is chemotherapy you get after your primary treatment, such as surgery, per Healthline.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

"There are some cancers," Dr. Ben Ho Park, director of precision oncology at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, told Today.com in an interview published March 22, "where we have to make decisions (as to) who should get additional chemotherapy after surgery and who should not."

He continued, "We base that off things like the stage of the cancer, the type of cancer, and even the age of the patient sometimes to determine whether or not giving chemotherapy after surgery will improve outcomes."

Although the cancer specialist is not involved in Kate's medical case, he said she could be undergoing preventive chemotherapy to maximize what she's already received.

"Even though the surgeons have removed everything they can see," he explained, "there could still be cancer cells floating around in the body that, if left untreated, may come back later (and) is then incurable."

It's unclear how long Kate—who shares kids Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, with Prince William—will need to do preventive chemotherapy for. However, she said in the video that her cancer diagnosis has been challenging to navigate.

"This, of course, came as a huge shock," Kate admitted, "and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family."

"As you can imagine, this has taken time," she continued. "It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK." 

Since sharing the news, Kate has received an outpour of love, including from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. "We wish health and healing for Kate and the family," the couple said in a statement to NBC News, "and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace."

Keep reading to see how others have expressed their support for the princess.

Shannen Doherty

The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, who has herself been battling cancer for years, wrote on Instagram, "I admire your strength thru the endless onslught you've been under while going through cancer."

Catherine Zeta-Jones

On March 22, 2024, Kensington Palace released a video of Kate Middleton revealing that she is undergoing treatment for cancer, which was discovered after she had abdominal surgery in January.

"Wales and the World is with you HRH Princess of Wales," Zeta-Jones, who was born in Wales and was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by now-King Charles III in 2011, wrote on Instagram. "Love to you always."

Olivia Munn

The Newsroom alum, who revealed March 13 she has been battling breast cancer, commented on Kensington Palace's Instagram video of Kate, "Thank you for showing what it's like to fight with grace and determination for yourself and your family. Wishing you all the best."

Angie Harmon

"We are praying for your full & complete recovery & for strength of mind, body & spirit for you & your entire family," the Rizzoli & Isles alum commented on Kensington Palace's video of Kate. "Thank you for your beautiful spirit & courage."

Lauren Sánchez

The media personality, fiancée of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, commented on the post as well, writing, "Sending love."

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

"My thoughts are with the Princess of Wales, Prince of Wales, the Royal Family and in particular her three children at this difficult time," he said in a statement on X. "The Princess of Wales has the love and support of the whole country as she continues her recovery. She has shown tremendous bravery with her statement today."

He added, "I know I speak for the whole country in wishing her a full and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her back in action when she's ready."

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

Speaking at a press briefing following news of Kate's health battle, she said their thoughts are with the princess "and her family members and friends during this incredibly difficult time," adding, "certainly we wish her a full recovery."

James Middleton

"Over the years, we have climbed many mountains together," Kate's brother wrote on Instagram, alongside a childhood pic of the two, after she revealed her health diagnosis. "As a family, we will climb this one with you too."

Charles Spencer

The ninth Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess Diana and Prince William and Prince Harry's uncle, wrote on Instagram, "Incredible poise and strength."

Meghan Markle & Prince Harry

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stepped back as senior royals in 2020 and live in California, said in a statement to NBC News, "We wish health and healing for Kate and the family and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace."

King Charles III & Queen Camilla

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said the King, who shared his own cancer diagnosis in February, is "so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did."

In fact, Charles has "remained in the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law throughout the past weeks," the rep told NBC News, adding that both he and Camilla "will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time."

U.S. First Lady Jill Biden

"You are brave," President Joe Biden's wife wrote on X, "and we love you."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

"On behalf of Canadians, I’m sending my support as she undergoes treatment," he wrote on X. "We’re all wishing her a swift recovery."

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