IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Kate Middleton announces she is undergoing treatment for cancer in new video

The Princess of Wales has been out of the public eye since December after "planned" abdominal surgery in January.
/ Source: TODAY

Catherine, Princess of Wales, is in the "early stages" of chemotherapy treatment after she was diagnosed with cancer, she announced March 22 in a video address.

The former Kate Middleton underwent "major" abdominal surgery in January, and her public absence sparked rumors and conspiracies about her health and whereabouts.

Kate's video marked her first public address since the surgery and her last public appearance in December. In it she revealed that after her surgery, doctors discovered cancer and she is now undergoing preventive chemotherapy.

“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."

After Kate's surgery, she was not expected to appear in public again until April, Kensington Palace announced on Jan. 17. But speculation over her condition heightened in the weeks that followed, reaching a fever pitch after the palace released an edited photo of the princess with her children.

Kate said the news came as a "huge shock," adding that she and Prince William aim to "manage this privately for the sake of our young family." She is currently undergoing a "course of preventative chemotherapy."

"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.

She said she is focused on making a "full recovery" while thinking of those who are also affected by cancer.

"For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone," she said.

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.

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, which she called “major” in her announcement.

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 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.

“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.

The palace has not confirmed what kind of cancer Kate’s doctors found following her surgery, but preventive chemotherapy is “typically used for breast, colon, ovarian or lung cancer,” Dr. Tara Narula, NBC medical contributor, explained said on March 25 during a TODAY appearance. And treatment typically lasts between three and six months, she added.

While the chemotherapy is used for a different purpose, the chemo Kate is receiving, Narula says, is no different from any other. But, since it is preventive, it might a lighter dosage or her course of treatment might be shorter. Her age, Narula added, make help in her recovery a smoother process, but there's no guarantee.

“When we say the term ‘preventive,’ it sounds light and fluffy, but she may be going through a lot this time,” Narula notes.

Citing clinical trial results, Park, says chemotherapy conducted after initial treatment can reduce the risk of cancer returning.

A timeline of Kate Middleton's condition

Kate's last public appearance was in December 2023 for the family's annual Christmas outing in Sandringham. Her "planned" surgery took place on Jan. 16 and was "successful," according to the palace.

"It is expected that she will remain in hospital for ten to fourteen days, before returning home to continue her recovery," Kensington Palace said in a statement.

The palace did not disclose the reason for her surgery but said at the time that it was not due to cancer. Representatives for the princess said only "significant" updates would be provided, a point that a spokesperson for Kate reiterated Feb. 29 amid growing rumors surrounding her health.

The palace confirmed in a Jan. 29 statement that Kate had returned to Windsor to recover from the surgery at home.

"She is making good progress," the statement read.

The princess was first spotted by paparazzi early this month in a car driven by her mother near Windsor Castle. She was later reportedly filmed out on a walk through a market with her husband in a video that circulated online March 18.

Kate released her first public comments in a post on X earlier this month for Mother's Day in the U.K., alongside a photo that was later retracted by news agencies due to apparent manipulation.

“Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months,” the caption read, signed off with a "C." “Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.”

The editing controversy and lack of information about her whereabouts led to viral conspiracies about the princess and the royal family. The Mirror, a newspaper in the U.K., reported this week that at least one staff member at the London Clinic allegedly tried to access Kate's medical records.

“This is a matter for The London Clinic," Kensington Palace told NBC News in response.

The London Clinic told NBC News in a statement that it was “acutely aware of our individual, professional, ethical and legal duties with regards to patient confidentiality.”

“We take enormous pride in the outstanding care and discretion we aim to deliver for all our patients that put their trust in us every day,” the clinic said. “We have systems in place to monitor management of patient information and, in the case of any breach, all appropriate investigatory, regulatory and disciplinary steps will be taken.

“There is no place at our hospital for those who intentionally breach the trust of any of our patients or colleagues.”