What Is Preventative Chemotherapy, the Treatment Kate Middleton Is Currently Undergoing?

What Is Preventative Chemotherapy, the Treatment Kate Middleton Is Currently Undergoing?

Photo: Aiony Haust/Unsplash

Earlier today Kate Middleton announced that she’d been diagnosed with cancer following abdominal 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,” the Princess of Wales shared in a video. “In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London, and at the time it was thought that my condition was noncancerous. 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.”

Millions of people have now seen the statement, leading some of those less familiar with cancer and its treatment options to wonder what preventative chemotherapy is and how it actually works.

“Preventive chemo is sometimes used after the primary cancer is removed to try to lower the risk of it coming back,” says Marleen Meyers, medical oncologist and director of the cancer-survivorship program at NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center. “We often give it for several kinds of cancer to try to eradicate microscopic cells that cannot be seen on scans but can grow if left untreated. Even if cancer is resected for curative intent, there may be a high risk of recurrence, so chemotherapy may be used. This may be done in breast, ovarian, and colon cancer, among others.”

Also referred to as adjuvant and auxiliary chemotherapy, it’s scientifically proven that the combination of surgery and chemotherapy improves cancer survival rates across the board.

The princess ended her statement on a note of reassurance: “I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal in my mind, body, and spirits…. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope.”

This article was originally published on Vogue.com

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