King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer and has begun a schedule of regular treatments, according to Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace announced Monday that King Charles III has been diagnosed with an unnamed form of cancer following routine treatment for an enlarged prostate.
The Palace explained that the King would be undergoing a non-serious procedure to treat an enlarged prostate — also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a phenomenon that happens to almost all men as they get older — at the end of January.
It was during this recent hospital procedure that “a separate issue of concern was noted,” the announcement said. “Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.”
The news shines a light on the importance of preventive cancer screenings, as cancers that are discovered sooner rather than later are less likely to spread, easier to treat and less likely to prove fatal.
“The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure,” Buckingham Palace said. “He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.”
While the type of cancer afflicting the King is unknown, urologist Ashley Winter recently shared a thread on X discussing what kinds of cancers could possibly be found during an enlarged prostate procedure.
A urologist's take on the breaking news out of Buckingham Palace: https://t.co/MLODkRnUkJundefined Ashley Winter MD || Urologist (@AshleyGWinter) February 5, 2024
“Prostate shavings taken during a procedure for benign prostate enlargement can show cancer when seen under the microscope,” Winter wrote in the thread. “You might also detect a tumor in the bladder at the time of the surgery, although it's unlikely this would not have been detected beforehand during a urologic evaluation in the office.”
She said it is also possible that they noticed a growth or mass on the penis, testicles, scrotum, or anus during the surgery, though those should also be detectable on an annual physical exam. She added that it could also be something entirely unrelated to urology.
“I have seen anesthesiologists detect oropharyngeal cancers when they go to place a breathing tube at the start of a surgery, for example,” she wrote. “It might have been something detected post operatively — for example, maybe he had a fever in the hospital which prompted a CT, or chest X-RAY that detected a mass, or a blood draw noted something abnormal which led to additional testing.”
Ultimately, it is impossible to know what kind of cancer King Charles has, but the decision to share the news of his diagnosis helps to bring awareness to the importance of proactive screening and treatment nonetheless.
Buckingham Palace said the King “has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”
- Royal UK. A statement from Buckingham Palace.