Doctors say the diagnosis of Catherine’s cancer is a familiar scenario

Although it is not known what type of cancer Princess Catherine has, oncologists say what she described in her public statement released on Friday – the discovery of a cancer during another procedure, in this case a “major abdominal surgery” – is all too common occurs frequently.

“Unfortunately, so much of the cancer we diagnose is unexpected,” said Dr. Elena Ratner, a gynecologic oncologist at Yale Cancer Center who has diagnosed many patients with ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and cancers of the endometrium.

Without speculating about Catherine’s procedure, Dr. Ratner situations in which women undergo surgery for endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the abdomen. Often, says Dr. Ratner, it is assumed that the endometriosis occurred on one ovary and caused a benign ovarian cyst. But a week or two later, when the supposedly benign tissue was examined, pathologists reported that they had found cancer.

In the statement, Princess Catherine said she was receiving “preventive chemotherapy.”

This is also common. In the medical field one usually speaks of adjuvant chemotherapy.

Dr. Eric Winer, director of the Yale Cancer Center, said that with adjuvant chemotherapy, “the hope is that it will prevent further problems” and prevent the cancer from coming back.

It also means that “they removed everything” that was visible during the surgery, Dr. Michael Birrer, director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “You can’t see the cancer,” he added, because there may be microscopic cancer cells left behind. Chemotherapy is a way to combat microscopic diseases, he explained.

Other parts of Catherine’s statement also struck a chord with Dr. Ratner, particularly her concern for her family.

“William and I have done everything we could to process and manage this privately for the benefit of our young family,” Catherine said, and “we have taken time to deal with everything in an appropriate manner to George, Charlotte and Louis.” to be appropriate for them and to reassure them that I will be fine.”

These are feelings that Dr. Ratner hears regularly and which, she says, show “how difficult it is for women to receive a cancer diagnosis.”

“I see this every day,” she said. “Women always say, ‘Will I be there for my children?’ What will happen to my children?’

“They don’t say, ‘What’s going to happen to me?'”

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