Understanding Preventative Chemo: A Look at Kate Middleton’s Cancer Care

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The Princess of Wales has disclosed through a public statement that she received a cancer diagnosis, an unexpected outcome that came to light following a procedure on her abdomen.

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In her revelation, Kate Middleton mentioned she is currently partaking in “preventative” chemotherapy.

While chemotherapy is commonly known as a treatment for individuals with a cancer diagnosis aimed at eliminating cancer cells, Kate’s use of the term “preventative chemotherapy” is particular.

Her statement read: “This past January, I had a significant surgery in London for what was initially believed to be a benign condition.

“The surgery went well, nonetheless, subsequent testing indicated there was a cancer presence. Consequently, my doctors recommended that I begin a regimen of preventative chemotherapy, and I’ve now started this early phase of treatment.”

On St Patrick’s Day in 2022, the Princess of Wales was visible to the public. The announcement regarding her cancer came through a statement released on a Friday evening.

The NHS doesn’t officially recognize “preventative chemotherapy” as a distinct category of treatment, and specifics about Kate’s specific cancer or her treatment haven’t been shared.

However, there are existing treatments, referred to as “chemoprevention,” which are designed to reduce the risk of developing cancer or prevent its recurrence in individuals who are currently healthy.

For instance, this approach is sometimes applied to those who are at high risk for breast cancer due to their family history but have not yet developed the disease.

In the years 2021-22, over 320,000 individuals were treated for cancer within the NHS, receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Chemotherapy drugs target and destroy cancer cells by interfering with how they grow and divide, which helps prevent the spread of cancer within the body.

Cancer specialists at The Royal Marsden, a dedicated cancer hospital in London, point out that a type of chemotherapy known as “adjuvant therapy” is often used to eradicate any cancer cells that might remain following surgery or radiotherapy.

Additional forms of chemotherapy include: neo-adjuvant therapy, which is administered before surgery or radiotherapy to reduce the size of a tumor; peri-operative therapy, which is provided before and after surgical intervention, and palliative chemotherapy, intended to alleviate symptoms in cases where cancer has advanced.

The World Health Organization describes a public health strategy known as “preventive chemotherapy,” which involves mass drug administration to entire populations to stave off diseases such as lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis.

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