Kate Middleton has been diagnosed with cancer, Buckingham Palace announced.

In a video statement released on Friday, the Princess of Wales, 42, revealed her diagnosis more than three months after undergoing a planned abdominal surgery in January, believing her condition to be non-cancerous.

“However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present,” she said in the video released by the Palace. “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.”

While the palace did not disclose what kind or stage of cancer she has, the diagnosis “shocked” both her and Prince William, but she assured she is “well and getting stronger every day” after her successful planned abdominal surgery.

“At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer,” the Princess of Wales, who has remained largely out of the public eye since the Jan. 17 procedure, continued. “For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.”

In the royal announcement Friday, Kate thanked the public for their support and asked for “space and privacy” while she completes preventative chemotherapy treatment.

What is preventative chemotherapy treatment?

Preventative chemotherapy is a type of treatment used to lower a person’s risk of developing certain cancers or to prevent it from recurring.

Also known as chemoprevention or adjuvant therapy, the treatment is suitable for someone who is at a higher risk of developing particular types of cancer due to family history, their lifestyle or developing a precancerous condition.

Adjuvant therapy can be used when other treatment methods will not be effective, although the choice to undergo preventative chemo depends on the type and stage of cancer, if it is receptive to hormone therapy or the number of lymph nodes involved, per Mayo Clinic.

How does it work?

After the successful removal of cancerous or precancerous cells, undetectable microscopic cancer cells may still linger in the body and result in recurring cancer even months to years following initial treatment or entering remission.

Adjuvant chemotherapy treatment — which can last from weeks to years — attacks those cells systemically and eliminates the disease, lowering the risk of recurrence.

What types of cancers are treated with preventative chemotherapy?

While preventative chemotherapy may treat many different kinds of cancer, it is most commonly used in patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, colon cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, according to Cleveland Clinic.

What are the side effects of preventative chemotherapy?

According to Healthline, chemotherapy drugs kill fast-growing cancer cells, but can also damage healthy cells, causing short-term gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation and weight loss.

The medications can also result in mouth sores, hair loss, mouth sores, fatigue, anemia and more, although healthier individuals are less likely to experience side effects.

However, there are long-term consequences of taking chemotherapy drugs, such as early menopause or damage to the heart, lungs, kidney or nerves.

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