Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales tells others facing a cancer diagnosis 'you are not alone'

Friday 22 March 2024

Our thoughts are with HRH The Princess of Wales and the Royal Family, as Dame Laura Lee says 'it takes time to absorb this enormous, shocking and initially scary news', reassuring that the family 'are united in this and will get through it'.

Dame Laura Lee, our Chief Executive, shares words of reassurance to the public after The Princess announced she is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer following abdominal surgery.

A former cancer nurse herself, Laura comments that the treatment path The Princess is taking is typical for a cancer diagnosis.

It’s quite normal and standard to have surgery followed by chemotherapy.

“Chemotherapy is when drugs that are given, usually into the vein, to kill any remaining cancer cells that might be there.

“As The Princess has told us, having the treatment is preventative, so it’s in order to give her the best chance of making sure that she is a cancer survivor and is cured.”

Processing a cancer diagnosis 

Dame Laura Lee went on to highlight that it takes time to process a cancer diagnosis, both as an individual and as a family.

“I think the fact that The Princess is only telling us now that she has her cancer diagnosis is that she’s had to get her mind around her own diagnosis, her own treatment choices and her own decisions.

The process that she has gone through requires time to absorb this enormous, shocking, and as she said, initially scary news.

“Now she’s undergoing a treatment pathway that she's come to understand in her mind, she’s had time to adjust to that, and then also how to talk to her children, which now means it safe to tell us, the public, what she’s going through.

“We know at Maggie’s that it’s not just the person with cancer that’s going through the cancer diagnosis; it’s the family. One in two of us is going to get cancer in our lifetimes, so it’s not unusual what they are experiencing, which is two family members going through cancer at the same time.

“What we do know is that they are a lovely, committed and united family, so the support and love that they have for each other through this time will be enormous.

“We also know that they’re getting expert, professional help to navigate the challenges that the treatment brings. They are united in this and will get through it.”

How to talk to your children about cancer

Cancer Support Specialist and Centre Head at Maggie's West London, Sinead Cope, shares the importance in not rushing the conversation with children about cancer.

She said: “It’s sensible to give yourself a bit of time to process the news first, so you feel ready. It may even be helpful to practice saying out loud to someone you love ‘I have cancer’ so it doesn’t come across as emotional when you say it with your children.

“You also need to consider the timing of when you might have that conversation. It’s probably not sensible doing it before school or on the way to bed.”

A message of hope for people with cancer

In announcing the news of her cancer diagnosis to the public, The Princess also shared her thoughts for others in the situation of dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

“At this time, I’m also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.”

We're here with you

If you have been affected by this announcement, or if someone you know is worried about a cancer diagnosis, we're here with you.

No appointment or referral is needed – just call, email or come in.

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