Doctors found my cancer during abdominal surgery – just like Kate Middleton: Texas woman, 39, shares her health battle

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Becky Black hoped abdominal surgery would finally put an end to the agonizing menstrual bleeding she’d suffered since she was a teenager.

But what was supposed to be a routine operation to remove benign growths from her womb led to a cancer diagnosis that turned her life upside down.

Ms Black said: ‘I had known something was wrong for years, but I kept putting it off. The cancer diagnosis just confirmed all this.’

Becky is sharing her story with after being inspired by Princess Kate Middleton’s similar cancer battle.

Like Ms Black, who was 39 when she was diagnosed, Princess Kate, 42, was told she had cancer after having unrelated abdominal surgery in January.

Until the last decade, both women would not have been your typical cancer patient – but their journeys are becoming a familiar tale. 

Jessie Sanders, who was diagnosed with cancer at 21, struggled with abdominal pain for years before receiving her ovarian cancer diagnosis

Becky Black, 44, from Texas, was told she had cancer after surgery to remove fibroids

Sara Stewart, from Pennsylvania, pictured above, was diagnosed with colon cancer at 45 years old

Becky Black, 44, from Texas, was told she had cancer after surgery to remove fibroids

Cancers have now risen among under-50s – who are considered early-onset patients – in a phenomenon that has baffled scientists. 

Ms Black had been struggling with an irregular period since she was 14.

The cycles became even more erratic and she began bleeding between periods, which is when she decided to seek help.

Scans revealed she had more than half a dozen fibroids — small growths in the wall of the uterus that are usually benign — and she was referred for surgery to have them removed.

Fibroids can cause irregular menstrual bleeding because they distort the shape of the uterus, disrupting the normal shedding.

But because they occur in up to 77 percent of women — and fewer than one in 1,000 cases are cancerous — she was thought to be unlikely to have cancer.

During the operation, however, doctors found ‘problematic’ cells which were sent for testing — and later diagnosed as stage one uterine cancer.

She was then scheduled to have a hysterectomy — or uterus removal — to remove the cancer before it spread to other areas of the body.

Doctors say it is common to have a hysterectomy once this cancer is detected in order to remove it before it spreads.

This was successful, with doctors saying she didn’t need chemotherapy because there was no sign the cancer had spread. 

Kate Middleton posted a video online where she revealed her cancer diagnosis and that she was receiving preventative chemotherapy

Kate Middleton posted a video online where she revealed her cancer diagnosis and that she was receiving preventative chemotherapy

Ms Black said: ‘I wouldn’t say it was a shock as much as it was a feeling of unwanted confirmation, if that makes sense.

‘My advice is to loved ones of those with cancer — though you’re well meaning, let your loved one with cancer have the space (emotional and physical) they may need during this time.

‘And to the rest of us, let Kate process her own and without our interference, curiosity, or concern, no matter how well-meaning we may be.’

Uterine cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system — and is rising among women — especially the under-50s.

Data suggests cases are rising by about two percent a year among the under-50s, and one percent a year among those over this age, according to Cancer.Net.

It is also the only cancer for which survival rates have fallen over the past four decades.

Researchers have previously blamed rising obesity rates, arguing that the increased estrogen levels from these can fuel the disease. But they also point out that fewer women are getting their uteruses removed to treat abnormal bleeding or non-cancerous fibroids, which can raise the risk of suffering from the disease.

Princess Kate revealed her cancer diagnosis following her own abdominal surgery. 

She is now receiving ‘preventative’ chemotherapy to remove any cancer cells that may be persisting in her body.

In her statement last Friday, Kate said: ‘We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my 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.’

Other younger cancer patients have also come forward to share their diagnoses, inspired by Kate’s frankness.

Sara Stewart, from Pennsylvania, was among those to reveal she was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer when she was 45.

The freelance writer said she had also been through abdominal surgeries and chemotherapy — just like Kate. 

In an op-ed for CNN, she said: ‘Recovering from major abdominal surgery — as Kate has been since January — is ghastly.

‘And having to do it so you can be healthy enough for chemotherapy is a humbling one-two punch from the universe.

‘For Kate, that’s topped off by having to endure it all while the entire world chases you down like a fox on one of those hunts the royals are always throwing.’

Another patient to be diagnosed with cancer following abdominal surgery was Jessie Sanders — who received the diagnosis at the age of 21 years.

The San Diego State University student went for surgery to have a six-inch cyst removed from her ovary in 2021.

But when she came around doctors told her she had small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type — a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer.

She was then sent for six rounds of chemotherapy and also had a bone marrow transplant from a donor before being declared in remission in June 2022.

Ms Sanders told PEOPLE: ‘It was just really hard because I’m 20 years old.

‘And I’m on social media trying to pass the time and I’d see my friends are traveling, or they’re out practicing and doing normal things that I should be doing.’ 

Another patient was Devlynn Cyr, 39, from Alberta, Canada, who was rushed in for surgery to repair a ruptured colon in September 2023.

But she woke from the operation to be told she had stage three colon cancer, suggesting the disease was spreading inside her body.

During the first operation, doctors had also — with the permission of her husband Greg — removed her uterus because a tumor was ‘fused’ to the organ and the whole area was ‘like concrete’.

Ms Cyr, a paramedic, was then put through six rounds of chemotherapy to treat her condition.

She told PEOPLE: ‘My husband gets a phone call halfway through surgery saying, “Here’s the problem. We found a tumor and it’s cemented to my uterus.

‘I couldn’t process the hysterectomy because I’m like, “I now don’t have an option of children?

‘Did they retrieve some eggs for me to be able to have children in the future? Like, do they even think of these things?’


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