Buckingham Palace has released a statement announcing that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer.

The cancer was discovered following his recent hospital visit for treatment for a benign enlarged prostate, although it’s not been revealed which type of cancer he has. The Palace have confirmed that it’s not prostate cancer.

A statement released at 6pm on Monday said:

“During the King’s recent ­hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, ­during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.”

There has also been no information shared about what treatment the King would be receiving, although it is understood to be “very specialist”. It’s believed the disease has been caught at an early stage. 

The announcement also expressed the King’s gratitude to his medical team for their swift intervention, saying that “he remains wholly positive about his treatment,” adding that he has chosen to share his diagnosis partly to prevent speculation but also “in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”

In a move away from royal protocol, the King has recently chosen to divulge details of his health conditions in hope of encouraging others to take action in seeking information or advice if they are experiencing similar symptoms.

When the King revealed details of his prostate diagnosis in January, the NHS website experienced a surge in traffic as members of the public went online in search of more information. 

The photo of King Charles that was published on social media by the Palace alongside their statement.

Well wishes for the King have been pouring in from around the world, including from international leaders such as US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who tweeted: “Wishing His Majesty a full and speedy recovery. I have no doubt he’ll be back to full strength in no time and I know the whole country will be wishing him well.”

Diagnosing cancer early

One in two people are expected to develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. For most types of cancer, there are no screening tests available to pick up asymptomatic patients. However, screening programmes do currently exist for three types of cancer in the UK; breast and cervical cancer in women, and bowel cancer in both sexes.

In most cases, diagnoses are made once symptoms start to appear, but often diagnoses can happen by chance during other medical procedures.

At 75, King Charles now falls into the age range most likely to develop cancer.  In the UK, more than a third of new cases each year are in people aged 75 and over. The most common cancers for men aged over 75 in the UK are bowel, bladder, lung, melanoma skin cancer and prostate cancer.

If cancers are spotted at an early stage, they are usually far easier to treat. Experts and medical professionals working in cancer care and prevention emphasize the importance of having conversations around cancer to further people’s understanding of the disease and remove the stigma. King Charles’ diagnosis this week is certainly helping to do that.