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Kate Middleton cancer announcement - what preventative chemotherapy is

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The news the Princess of Wales has diagnosed with cancer has been met with a huge outpouring of support around the world. In a video message on Friday, the Princess spoke about the 'huge shock' after tests identified cancer following her abdominal surgery and the 'incredibly tough couple of months' her family have experienced.

And she also said she was undergoing 'preventative chemotherapy'. Here experts explain what the treatment is, how it works and when it's used... READ MORE: Kate Middleton cancer diagnosis news sparks huge outpouring of support Although not a technical or official NHS term term, experts say 'preventative chemotherapy' most likely refers to adjuvant chemotherapy.

This treatment usually involves the same type of chemotherapy drugs used to treat active or advanced cancer and is meant to kill any remaining cancer cells that may have been missed or spread to other parts of the body.

Lawrence Young, professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, told Sky News "Even after successful removal of all visible cancer by surgery, microscopic cancer cells can remain lurking in the body and can't be detected by current tests." There are also types of treatment called 'chemoprevention' which lower the risk of getting cancer, or of it returning in healthy people.

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