Thanks for speaking out, Kate: NHS and cancer charities hail Princess of Wales for bravely sharing ‘huge shock’ diagnosis and begging fellow sufferers not to ‘lose faith or hope’

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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It’s a disease that will strike half of us in our lifetime and almost certainly someone we know and love. 

The Princess of Wales is now one of them following her shock diagnosis.

Kate Middleton, 42, today bravely revealed doctors had discovered an unspecified form of cancer in tests taken after her abdominal surgery. 

In an emotional video message, filmed at Windsor on Wednesday, Kate revealed the news had come as a ‘huge shock’ and that she and William ‘have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family’. 

Experts and charities praised this decision, saying it will encourage others to seek help for their own potential cancer symptoms.   

In a video message released today, Kate said she was advised by her medical team to undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy. ‘This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,’ she added

The Princess of Wales said her family (pictured together on December 25) 'need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment'

The Princess of Wales said her family (pictured together on December 25) ‘need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment’

Catherine's emotional and extraordinary words in her unprecedented video message

Catherine’s emotional and extraordinary words in her unprecedented video message

NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: ‘On behalf of the NHS, I’m really sorry to hear this shocking news.

‘Our thoughts are with the Princess of Wales and the Royal Family, especially while her treatment continues.

‘We know how difficult a diagnosis and treatment journey can be for patients and their families.

‘Speaking out about it is really brave and it can help others to get worrying signs and symptoms checked.

‘If you’re worried about cancer, the NHS website has more information.’

Meanwhile, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, Michelle Mitchell, said: “On behalf of everyone at Cancer Research UK, I wish Her Royal Highness a full, swift recovery and return to good health. 

‘During this difficult time, it’s important that the Princess is given the time and space to focus on her treatment and that we respect the family’s privacy.

‘Nearly one in two of us will develop cancer during our lifetimes, but many more are affected when someone they love is diagnosed with cancer. 

‘Thanks to research there is hope – cancer survival has doubled in the last 50 years.’

She added: ‘High profile cancer cases often act as a prompt to encourage people to find out more or think about their own health. 

‘If people spot something that’s not normal for them or isn’t going away, they should check with their GP. 

‘It probably won’t be cancer. But if it is, spotting it at an early stage means treatment is more likely to be successful.’

The Princess of Wales’ cancer was discovered only after she underwent major abdominal surgery at The London Clinic in January. 

Kensington Palace has said it will not be sharing details of what kind of cancer the princess has, or what stage of cancer it is and has asked people not to speculate.

It is understood that the King — who himself was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year — and the Queen have both been informed of the news. 

At the time of her abdominal surgery in January, Kensington Palace said that it was non-cancerous. 

Post-operative tests, however, subsequently found that cancer ‘had been present’. 

Elliot Colburn, MP and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer, also praised the Princess of Wales’s decision. 

‘I want to extend the best wishes of us all to the Princess of Wales and wish her well with her treatment,’ he said.  

Potential symptoms of cancer are specific to the type of disease, and experts say the most important thing is to get any new or changed aspect of your body checked out by a GP. 

Some of the most common signs include a cough that lasts for over three weeks, a change in bowel habits or bloating for the same period, a new lump on the body, unexplained bleeding or weight loss, yellowing of the skin, and continuously feeling tired and unwell.

The Princess of Wales with her children in her Mother's Day portrait, which now has added significance given her diagnosis

The Princess of Wales with her children in her Mother’s Day portrait, which now has added significance given her diagnosis

The Prince and Princess of Wales were seen together last week as William went to the The Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey

The Prince and Princess of Wales were seen together last week as William went to the The Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey

Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the opening of Evelina London's new children's day surgery unit on December 5

Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the opening of Evelina London’s new children’s day surgery unit on December 5

About 375,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, with 

Some 167,000 Brits are killed by cancer per annum, accounting for a quarter of all annual deaths in the UK. 

Cancer survival rates have doubled over the last 50 years, according to data published by Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

Half of those diagnosed with the condition are now expected to live for at least a decade, though these odds vary significantly for specific types of the disease. 

Despite the toll cancer takes on the UK, critical NHS targets for the disease, such as those for early diagnosis and treatment, continue to be missed in England. 

The health service is currently grappling with a post-Covid backlog of cancer referrals, with latest NHS data showing more than 10,000 patients did not start cancer treatment within two months of an urgent referral from their GP.

It means just six in 10 cancer patients (62.3 per cent) were seen within the two-month target.

NHS guidelines state 85 per cent of cancer patients should be seen within this time-frame. 

But, this target has not been met nationally since December 2015. 

Just 70.9 per cent of patients urgently referred for suspected cancer were diagnosed or had cancer ruled out within 28 days, down from 74.2 per cent the previous month. The target is 75 per cent.

Kate’s cancer battle in her own words: The Princess of Wales’ emotional video statement in full 

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you, personally, for all the wonderful messages of support and for your understanding whilst I have been recovering from surgery.

It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I’ve had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful.

In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London 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. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.

This of course came as a huge shock, 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. 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.

As I have said to them; I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.

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.

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.

At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.

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