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Everything we know about King Charles' cancer diagnosis so far

With King Charles undergoing treatment for cancer, HELLO! spoke to experts about what the royal is going through

King Charles wearing brown coat to church
Melanie Macleod
Melanie MacleodWellness Editor
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King Charles sent shockwaves around the nation on Monday when Buckingham Palace announced that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

The statement didn't elaborate on the type of cancer His Majesty has but said that he is undergoing treatment.

What is the King’s diagnosis?

The Palace statement read: "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."

King Charles smiles in a suit© Getty
King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer

How was his cancer diagnosed?

King Charles's cancer was diagnosed during his prostate procedure, with tests identifying cancer. 

"Cancer diagnosis typically involves a combination of imaging and biopsy procedures," explains Professor Ramia Mokbel, a consultant dermatologist with a special interest in skin cancer and screening, and the founder of the London Skin and Mole Clinic at HCA Healthcare.

"Effective cancer screening methods include colonoscopy for colorectal cancer, lung scans for lung cancer, PSA blood tests and MRI for prostate cancer, and cervical cell sampling for cancer of the cervix along with mapping and biopsy for melanoma detection."

TOPSHOT - Britain's King Charles III wearing the Imperial state Crown, waves from the Buckingham Palace balcony after viewing the Royal Air Force fly-past in central London on May 6, 2023, after his coronation. The set-piece coronation is the first in Britain in 70 years, and only the second in history to be televised. Charles will be the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned at the central London church since King William I in 1066. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFAN ROUSSEAU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)© STEFAN ROUSSEAU
King Charles' cancer has not been confirmed

How is the King coping with his diagnosis?

His Majesty appears to be in good spirits, smiling following his first treatment as he and Queen Camilla left Clarence House, following visits from family members including Prince Harry and Princess Beatrice.

The King plans to keep busy during treatment, with the Palace explaining that he will continue with his duties, albeit public-facing engagements have been paused.

READ: What King Charles' cancer diagnosis means for other senior royals 

The statement read: "His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual."

It continued: "The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla attended the Sunday service at the Church of St Mary Magdalene© Max Mumby/Indigo
King Charles III and Queen Camilla are a great support to one another

Queen Camilla gave an update on her husband's health several days after his treatment began, saying: "He’s doing extremely well under the circumstances, he’s very touched by all the letters and the messages the public have been sending from everywhere – that’s very cheering."

Several days after his first treatment, King Charles attended a church service in Sandringham with Queen Camilla. The royal couple were spotted walking to St Mary Magdalene Church and waving to well-wishers. The King appeared in good spirits as he greeted The Reverend Canon Dr Paul Williams who proceeded to join the couple as they walked towards church.

What does his cancer treatment look like?

The palace has not disclosed what kind of treatment the King will have, but Professor Ramia explained: "Each type of cancer requires a tailored multimodal treatment plan, developed and endorsed by a team of specialists from various disciplines. 

"While some cancers respond well to surgery alone, many necessitate supplementary interventions such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and hormonal therapy to ensure comprehensive management and improved outcomes."

King Charles returned to London from Sandringham, via helicopter, on February 13th, with his arrival in the capital expected to coincide with his second cancer treatment. 

How long will King Charles be in treatment for?

"Cancer treatment duration can vary, but typically lasts around six months for a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy," explains Professor Ramia Mokbel. "However, hormone therapy for hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer may be required for several years or even lifelong, depending on the cancer stage and individual response to treatment. Patients need to maintain a balanced lifestyle with regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate rest to minimise the impact of treatment on daily life."

Who is in charge of King Charles' treatment?

The King’s Serjeant Surgeon is Ranan Dasgupta, a urologist who specialises in a treatment for enlarged prostates. He is based at the London Clinic.

The head of the Medical Household is Michael Dixon. The former GP was appointed in 2022.

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