Let’s Pray for the Princess: Disclosing Cancer Diagnosis is Not Easy

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton Cancer Diagnosis

Revealing her cancer diagnosis, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, the Princess of Wales displayed remarkable strength.

However, we don’t know how much fear she is hiding behind her smiling face. Fear not for herself but for her loved ones, her family, and her children.

Which Kind of Cancer Might the Princes Have?

As the Princess has chosen not to disclose her diagnosis, she values her privacy. Let us refrain from delving into the specifics of her condition.

Let’s pray for her swift recovery from both the cancer and the stress of the surgery.

In the face of uncertainty, let us hold onto hope. In the presence of fear, let us show respect and admiration.

And in the depths of despair, let us lift our voices in prayer, trusting in the power of faith to guide us through.


Cancer and Women:

Breast cancer ranks as the top cancer diagnosis among women.

Additionally, prevalent cancers in women encompass colorectal cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, and skin cancer.

Here is a brief overview of the epidemiology of cancers affecting women primarily:

  • Breast Cancer

Breast cancer tops the list. Various good and bad prognostic factors are used to predict survival rates in women with breast cancer.

Here is the annual incidence rate and age-related demographics [Ref]:

Breast Cancer Statistics

Data (2020)

Estimated new cases2.26 million
Incidence rateRanges from 26.2 to 95.5 per 100,000
– Peak incidence age75-79 years
– 95% of new cases age40 years or older
– Median age at diagnosis63 years
– Incidence stability (age 50+)Stable from 2005-2014
– Incidence trend (age <50)Increased by 0.2% per year since the mid-1990s
– In situ breast cancerIncidence is static among women older than 50 years of age since the 90s but is increasing in younger women

Ovarian Cancer:

Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death in women with gynecological cancer.

A brief overview of the epidemiology of ovarian cancer is given in the table below:

Ovarian Cancer

Data (2015 – 2019)

Incidence of ovarian cancer in the US10.6 per 100,000 women per year
Incidence rate in whites versus blacks in the US11.0 versus 9.1 cases per 100,000 women per year
Age of occurrence: Median age at diagnosis63 years
The age group with the most diagnoses:Women 55-64 years of age
Estimated lifetime risk in the US1.22%
New cases of ovarian cancer in the US (2022)19,880
Estimated deaths from ovarian cancer in the US (2022)12,810
Ranking among cancers in US women (incidence)18th most common
Ranking among cancers in US women (mortality)5th most common cause of cancer death
Decrease in death rate from ovarian cancer (2010-2019)Average of 2.7% each year
Median age at death from ovarian cancer70 years
Worldwide new cases of ovarian cancer (2020)More than 313,000
Worldwide deaths from ovarian cancer (2020)More than 207,000
Worldwide age-standardized rate6.6 cases per 100,000
The highest incidence rate is reported in Brunei (2020)17.4 cases per 100,000

Cervical Cancer:

Cervical cancer is the 3rd most common cause of death in women worldwide. In the developing world, it is the 2nd most common cause of cancer-related deaths. In the developed world, its incidence and mortality have decreased.

In developed countries, widespread screening programs and vaccination against HPV (human papillomavirus) have significantly reduced the incidence of cervical cancer and death.

It is not among the top 10 causes of cancer-related deaths in the developed world.

A table summarizing the epidemiology of cervical cancer is presented here:

Cervical Cancer

Data (2022)

Worldwide RankingThe third most common cancer in women
Incidence Trend in the USDeclined steadily:

  • – 2.1% per year in women younger than 50 years
  • – 3.1% per year in women 50 years of age and older
New Cases in the US14,100
Worldwide IncidenceMore than 500,000 new cases annually.

Varies from 4.5 to 34.5 cases per 100,000 women, depending on region

Incidence of CIN 2/3 Disease in the USAbout 150 per 100,000 women

Peak incidence is around 800 per 100,000 women in the 25-29 year age group

Age-Related Demographics in the USLate-stage cervical cancer is highest among women aged 50-79 years.

Adenocarcinoma increasing in women under 40 years

Race-Related Demographics in the USIncidence rates per 100,000 women:

  • Hispanic: 11.8
  • African American: 9.8
  • American Indian/Alaska Native: 8.1
  • White: 8.0
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 7.2
Mortality Rates in the USExcept for Asian/Pacific Islanders, higher mortality from cervical cancers in other races compared to whites

Highest death rates among African Americans

African-American death rates decreased by 2.6% per year (2004-2008)


Endometrial Cancer:

Also called uterine cancer, endometrial cancer is one of the most common gynecological cancers in women in the developed world.

A brief epidemiology of endometrial cancer is tabulated below:

Endometrial Cancer


Age-Adjusted Incidence26 cases per 100,000 women
Incidence in White Women26.6 cases per 100,000
Incidence in Black Women25.4 cases per 100,000
Mortality in Black Women8.3 deaths per 100,000
Mortality in White Women4.3 deaths per 100,000
Mortality in Asian/Pacific Islander Women2.9 deaths per 100,000
Median Age for Endometrial Adenocarcinoma62 years
Age Range for Most Patients55-64 years

Cancers in Women Requiring Abdominal Surgery:

Among cancers that may require abdominal surgery either for diagnosis or treatment for curative intent include:

  • Early Stage Colon Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer and GIST (Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors)
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancers)
  • Adrenal tumors, and 
  • Pancreatic Cancer

Among these cancers requiring abdominal surgery, pancreatic cancer is the deadliest and has the lowest survival rates despite the best treatment.

Colon cancer, if picked up during the earliest stages without lymph node involvement or distant spread has the best prognosis.

Surgery in these patients can be curative.


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Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

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