What is the latest with Kate Middleton’s cancer treatment? Everything to know

William, Prince of Wales, shared a brief update on the former Kate Middleton’s cancer diagnosis.

During a visit to St. Mary’s Community Hospital in the U.K. on May 10, he spoke with a hospital administrator about the health of his wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales.

“I asked William about his wife Kate and he said, ‘She’s doing well, thanks,’” hospital administrator Tracy Smith told reporters, according to the Associated Press

William doesn’t often comment on how his wife is doing since she shared in late March that she was diagnosed with cancer. She’s remained largely out of the public eye since.

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

Kate Middleton’s cancer diagnosis

The princess of Wales said that she was in the “early stages” of preventative chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer, she announced March 22, 2024, in a video statement. She did not specify the kind of cancer.

The diagnosis came after Kate underwent major abdominal surgery in January. “At the time, it was thought that my condition was noncancerous,” she said in the video. “The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present.”

Kate’s video marked her first address since the abdominal surgery.

Kate added that the news of her cancer diagnosis came as a “huge shock,” noting that she and William were aiming to “manage this privately for the sake of our young family.” 

“As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment,” she said. “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.”

The princess assured viewers in the video that she is “well and getting stronger every day.” She also asked for “time, space and privacy” as she undergoes treatment and said she is focused on making a “full recovery.”

Kate is the second member of the royal family to face significant health issues this year.

Buckingham Palace announced Feb. 5 that King Charles III was diagnosed with cancer after undergoing a procedure for benign prostate enlargement. The palace did not specify what kind of cancer but clarified it was not prostate cancer.

Kate Middleton’s abdominal surgery

On Jan. 16, 2024, Kate underwent a planned abdominal surgery. 

In the statement, released the following day, Kensington Palace wrote: “The surgery was successful and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for ten to fourteen days, before returning home to continue her recovery. Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.”

The statement went on to say that it would only provide updates that were “significant” and to apologize on behalf of the princess, who had to postpone all upcoming engagements.

Catherine returned home to Windsor to continue to recover on Jan. 29, according to a palace statement, which added, “She is making good progress.”

At the time, a palace source told NBC News that she was expected to be recuperating for two to three months following the surgery.

“She looks forward to reinstating as many as possible, as soon as possible,” the statement said.

A Kensington Palace source told NBC News in mid-January that William would be postponing appearances in the coming months and not conduct any official duties while his wife was in the hospital or immediately after she returned home.

For weeks after the surgery and before her cancer diagnosis was revealed, speculation, rumors and conspiracies theories swirled around the wellbeing of the future queen.

The palace has yet to reveal what the abdominal surgery was meant to address.

What type of cancer does Kate Middleton have?

In her video statement, the princess did not specify what kind of cancer she is undergoing treatment for. She shared that it was discovered after an abdominal surgery in January.

The most common types of cancer discovered through abdominal surgery are gastrointestinal, such as colon or stomach, or genital or urinary, Dr. Ben Ho Park, director of precision oncology at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, tells TODAY.com. He was sure to point out, however, that “it could be anything.”

What is preventive chemotherapy?

Kate specified in her video that her treatment involves a course of preventative chemotherapy.” While not a clinical term, Park says preventive, technically called adjuvant chemotherapy, likely refers to a treatment that is conducted after any initial interventions, such as surgery, to prevent cancer from returning.

Clinical trials have found that chemotherapy after initial treatment, such as surgery, which Kate had, can reduce the risk of the cancer recurring, Park said.

“Even though the surgeons have removed everything they can see, there could still be cancer cells floating around in the body that, if left untreated, may come back later (and) is then incurable,” Park, who does not have details about Kate’s specific condition, says.

Park said the purpose of preventive chemotherapy is “trying to maximize” the treatment a patient has already received to eliminate all of the cancer cells.

Preventive chemotherapy typically lasts between three and six months, Dr. Tara Narula, NBC medical contributor, said in a March 25 TODAY appearance.

“When we say the term ‘preventive,’ it sounds light and fluffy, but she may be going through a lot this time,” Narula notes. “This is not a walk in the park,” said Narula. Kate’s age might help her better tolerate treatment but that’s not a sure thing.

Will Kate be returning to her royal duties?

Catherine has not yet returned to her royal duties since announcing her cancer diagnosis.

When her diagnosis was revealed in March, the palace said in an official statement: “The Princess will return to official duties when she is cleared to do so by her medical team. She is in good spirits and is focused on making a full recovery.”

A timeline of Kate Middleton’s health 

December 2023

The princess’s most recent public appearance with husband Prince William and their three children — George, 10, Charlotte, 8, and Louis, 5 — came in late 2023 during their annual Christmas church outing at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, near one of the king’s royal estates.

January 2024

Kensington Palace announced that Kate had undergone “planned abdominal surgery” on Jan. 16.

William was by his wife’s bedside during a visit to the hospital on Jan. 18. Kate was discharged from London Clinic, a private hospital, on Jan. 29, 13 days after the procedure took place.

At the time, the palace said that Kate would be recuperating for two to three months after her surgery (before her cancer diagnosis) and that William would be postponing appearances in the coming months while his wife recovered.

Catherine previously experienced health complications during each of her three pregnancies. She had to be treated in the hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe type of morning sickness, when she was pregnant with the couple’s oldest child, George, and also had the condition with Charlotte and Louis.

February 2024

William pulled out of attending his godfather’s memorial service due to a “personal matter.” In a statement to NBC News on Feb. 27, the palace wouldn’t elaborate on the reason for William’s absence but said Kate “continues to be doing well.” 

After releasing Kate’s video, Kensington Palace confirmed that the prince did not attend the service due to his wife’s cancer diagnosis.

In late February, as rumors about Kate’s health and whereabouts mounted, the palace issued another statement about her recovery, explaining that her absence from the public eye shouldn’t be unexpected.

“Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the Princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates,” a spokesperson for the princess said in a statement to NBC News on Feb. 29. “That guidance stands.”

March 2024

The first photo of Kate since the surgery was released March 5. Grainy images showed her in the passenger seat of a black SUV that appeared to be driven by her mother near Windsor Castle. The palace declined to comment on these photos.

A photo, posted on social media in honor of U.K. Mother’s Day on March 10, was the first official one released of Catherine since the surgery. According to the palace, it was taken by William the week prior.

It showed Kate with her three children. Alongside it, she also shared her first message since the procedure: “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.”

But within several hours of the photo being shared, it was retracted by major news agencies, including the Associated Press and Reuters, due to “manipulation.”

Kate addressed the controversy in a post on X, writing, “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C.”

The AP explained its decision to retract the photo in a statement to NBC News: “The Associated Press initially published the photo, which was issued by Kensington Palace. The AP later retracted the image because at closer inspection, it appears that the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet AP’s photo standards. The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand.”

Reuters issued a similar editor’s note, withdrawing the image after “a post publication review.” 

The editing controversy and lack of information about her whereabouts led to viral conspiracies about the princess and the royal family.

Later that month, some social media users speculated a March 11 photograph of Kate and William leaving their Windsor Castle residence was photoshopped. (A royal spokesperson confirmed at the time that they were attending a “private appointment.”)

But the agency that distributed it, Goff Photos, told TODAY.com in a statement that it was only “cropped and lightened, nothing has been doctored!”

On March 18, a video reportedly of Kate and William at a market in Windsor taken over the weekend began to circulate online. Kensington Palace declined to comment on the footage.

April 2024

William, the prince of Wales, returned to royal duties in mid-April. An April 16 statement released by the Palace said that on April 18, the prince was due to visit Surplus to Supper, “a surplus food redistribution charity, where he will see how surplus food from across the local area is delivered, sorted and re-packaged for delivery to small community (organizations),” the statement read. 

He also traveled to West London to visit a youth center that receives these meals.

These visits mark the first official engagements for the prince since Kate announced she was undergoing treatment.

His public comments on his wife’s health have been minimal, but in a May 10 appearance, he reportedly said she’s “doing well.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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