How is King Charles’ cancer treatment progressing? Doctors and royal family intervene

By | March 27, 2024

Buckingham Palace officials revealed that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer.

Last month the king, 75, underwent treatment for a benign prostate condition. A “separate area of ​​concern was noted” during these recent proceedings, royal officials said in a Feb. 5, 2024, statement.

Further diagnostic tests revealed that Charles has “a form of cancer”. Officials did not reveal any other details about the specific type of cancer, but they did share that it is not prostate cancer.

“His Majesty today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public duties,” the statement read. “During this period, His Majesty will continue to conduct state affairs and official paperwork as usual.”

The cancer was “caught early,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said during a BBC radio interview, according to NBC News. “And now everyone will wish that he gets the treatment he needs and makes a full recovery,” he added.

King Charles’s prostate treatment

On January 17, 2024, Buckingham Palace announced that Charles would undergo “a corrective procedure” to treat a benign enlarged prostate. The treatment would be followed by a ‘short recovery period’.

He went to the private London Clinic hospital and underwent the procedure on January 26. He was released from the hospital on January 29.

A benign enlarged prostate is a common condition that is often associated with aging, says Dr. Otis Brawley, professor of oncology and associate director of outreach and engagement at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, told

The condition, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia, affects almost every man over the age of 50, Brawley explains, and can put uncomfortable pressure on the bladder, blocking the flow of urine.

Typically, it involves an area known as the transition zone, which is “the part around the urethra where urine comes out,” says Dr. Justin R. Gregg, urologic oncologist and assistant professor of urology and health disparities research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, tells

“If you think of the prostate as a donut, and we urinate through the hole in the donut,” says Brawley, “just like you fry a donut and the donut gets bigger, the hole in the middle gets smaller.” Likewise, as the prostate enlarges, it becomes more difficult to urinate and the bladder empties completely.

For example, men with an enlarged prostate often describe having to wake up in the middle of the night to urinate, Brawley says.

Treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia include medications, which typically need to be taken for months, Brawley says, or surgery. Some of these medications work by relaxing the muscles of the prostate, while others can actually shrink the prostate over time, Gregg adds.

Of the available surgical options, transurethral resection of the prostate is the most common. This procedure “involves inserting a drill into the urethra up to the level of the prostate,” Brawley explains, and using the drill to essentially “drill a larger hole for the person to urinate.”

Buckingham Palace did not reveal the specific procedure Charles received.

Does King Charles have cancer?

Yes. In a statement dated February 5, 2024, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Charles has cancer.

“During The King’s recent hospital procedure for a benign prostate enlargement, another area of ​​concern was noted,” the statement said. “Subsequent diagnostic testing identified a form of cancer.”

What type of cancer does King Charles have?

Buckingham Palace has not disclosed the specific type of cancer King Charles has (other than to say he does not have prostate cancer).

“The King is grateful to his medical team for their quick intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure,” the official statement read. “He remains completely positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to his full public role as soon as possible.”

He began outpatient treatment for the cancer on Monday, February 5, palace officials added.

What type of cancer can be detected by enlarged prostate treatment?

The monarch’s diagnosis appears to be what experts call an incidental diagnosis, meaning the medical team was not looking for cancer but discovered it during a different procedure.

“This can definitely happen,” said Dr. Tara Narula, NBC medical contributor, TODAY on Feb. 6. “Anytime you have a surgical procedure, you will be tested prior to surgery. That includes labs, urinalysis, and usually a chest x-ray. Then you might find something.”

During some procedures to relieve pressure from an enlarged prostate, doctors may analyze the removed tissue, Gregg explains. This can sometimes lead to an incidental diagnosis of prostate cancer. However, a palace spokesperson clarified that Charles does not have prostate cancer.

Patients typically receive routine imaging during treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia that can reveal other, unrelated problems, Brawley says. For example, a CT scan or MRI of the pelvic or abdominal area may show signs of kidney or bladder cancer.

“Now we have CAT scans and MRIs that are so good that we often notice incidental things,” Narula said. “And then you use scopes in certain procedures.”

The scope used during prostate surgery can also reveal signs of bladder cancer. “If you go past the (prostate), you get into the bladder,” says Brawley, “and that’s where you might see a bladder problem, which often looks like cauliflower growing in the bladder.”

Although kidney cancer usually does not cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages, Brawley explains, people with bladder cancer may exhibit symptoms that overlap with those of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

“Some bladder cancers can cause urine-related symptoms of urgency or frequency,” Gregg agrees.

More rarely, doctors see signs of colorectal cancer during these routine treatment steps for an enlarged prostate, Brawley says. Or there’s always a chance that other conditions, such as lymphoma, could be diagnosed via a chest X-ray for a completely unrelated problem, he adds.

None of these cancers are directly related to or caused by an enlarged prostate, Brawley explains.

While it’s difficult to know exactly what condition King Charles is currently dealing with, “if you catch things early, that’s the best when it comes to cancer because we have treatments available,” Narula said, and the sooner you catch the diagnosed, the more likely those treatments are to be effective.

“His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to avoid speculation and in the hope that it can increase public understanding for everyone around the world affected by cancer,” the Buckingham Palace statement read.

Gregg also hopes it will be an important reminder that anyone experiencing bladder symptoms should talk to their doctor, and keep regular cancer screenings, including prostate cancer screenings, in mind as they get older.

Will King Charles continue his royal duties?

Yes, although the king had to give up some planned assignments, he was able to take on some work from the palace.

In their initial statement announcing Charles’ diagnosis, Buckingham Palace wrote that while the king will have to step away from public duties during treatment, “His Majesty will continue to conduct state business and official paperwork as usual during this period.”

When he was unable to attend a Commonwealth Day meeting on March 11, he released a video statement from the palace. “Over the past few weeks I have been deeply touched by your wonderfully kind and thoughtful good wishes for my health and in return I can only continue to serve you, to the best of my ability, throughout the Commonwealth,” he said in the newspaper. address.

On March 21, 2024, during a visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland, Queen Camila commented on the King’s absence from the trip he was originally scheduled to attend. When a shopkeeper offered her a card to pass to the king, Camila said, “He’s doing very well.” Hello! reported. “He was very disappointed that he couldn’t come.”

How is King Charles doing now?

At a benefit for the Elephant Family charity on March 21, Princess Eugenie, King Charles’ niece, gave an update on the monarch’s health.

“He is doing well”, Eugenie said in clip shared by ITV news. “Thank you for asking. He is doing well, and he would also be very proud today, because the Elephant Family is also close to his heart.”

A source at Kensington Palace told NBC News that the king has also made time to be with Princess Catherine of Wales, who revealed she was undergoing treatment for cancer on March 22. Before the former Kate Middleton filmed her video speech revealing the news of her treatment, she and Charles had lunch.

When news of Kate’s treatment emerged, Charles said in a palace statement that he was “so proud of Catherine for her courage to speak out as she did.”

“I think for her and for the king, the outpouring of support for them both, and the well wishes that they both make a speedy recovery, has been hugely encouraging,” Charles’ cousin, Peter Phillips, told Sky News Australia. March 24.

“This new experience for both of them will truly strengthen the long, deeply loving bond between the king and his beloved daughter-in-law,” said Hello magazine editor Emily Nash during a March 25 TODAY segment.

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