What experts say about the disease

Kate Middleton said she was receiving a “course of preventive chemotherapy.”

Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, has revealed that she has been diagnosed with cancer and is in the “early stages” of treatment. Although it is not known what type of cancer she has, oncologists said what she described in her video message — the discovery of cancer during “major abdominal surgery” — is very common. In her public statement released on Friday, Kate said the diagnosis came after she underwent abdominal surgery in January. She added that her condition was initially thought to be non-cancerous, but subsequent tests “showed the presence of cancer.” Now, without speculating about the surgery Kate Middleton underwent, here's what experts say they know about the Princess of the United Kingdom's cancer.

Talking to The New York TimesDr. Elena Ratner, a gynecologic oncologist at Yale Cancer Center, described cases in which women go for surgery to treat endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the abdomen. The assumption is often that endometriosis appeared on the ovary and caused a benign ovarian cyst, Dr. Ratner said. But a few days later, when the benign tissue was studied and tested, pathologists reported that they had found cancer.

Doctors also noted that Kate said she was receiving a “course of preventive chemotherapy.” This is also common, they said, explaining that in medical settings, this is usually called adjuvant chemotherapy.

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According to Dr. Eric Weiner, director of the Yale Cancer Center, adjuvant chemotherapy “will hopefully prevent further problems” and avoid recurrence of the cancer. It also means you “removed everything” that was visible with the surgery, said Dr. Michael Bearer, director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Dr. Bearer added, according to the newspaper, that you cannot see cancer because there may be microscopic cancer cells. He explained that chemotherapy is a way to attack microscopic diseases.

Separately, talk to CNNDr. Karen Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society, explained that preventive chemotherapy is often used after surgery as an “adjuvant” treatment, to reduce the chances of the cancer returning.

It is worth noting that Kate Middleton has been absent from the public eye since her surgery in January, which raised speculation about her health. Furthermore, the shock diagnosis comes after UK King Charles III was diagnosed with cancer following surgery for an enlarged prostate.

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