April, 2024
April 2024
Tatiana Prowell:  I have declined all 4 major media requests in the 2h since Kate Middleton announced her cancer diagnosis
Mar 25, 2024, 15:43

Tatiana Prowell: I have declined all 4 major media requests in the 2h since Kate Middleton announced her cancer diagnosis

Tatiana Prowell

I’ve received 4 major media requests in the 2h since Kate Middleton announced her cancer diagnosis. I have declined them all. She has not revealed what type or stage of cancer she has and any doctor including oncologists such as myself, appearing on the news would be speculating.

I’ve been asked questions on live broadcasts before that we had agreed were off-limits. I know if I agreed here, I’d be asked to speculate on the type of cancer, type of treatment, how long it might last, what the side effects might be, what her prognosis is. I won’t do it.

I won’t do it not only because it’s unprofessional to talk about things you don’t know about— and unless you’re Kate Middleton’s medical team or you’ve been told by her, you don’t know what you’re talking about—but also because doing so causes concrete harm.

I’m a breast oncologist and many of the patients I see are women with young families. They struggle with how to talk about cancer with their kids in a way that is factual, honest, age-appropriate and not overwhelming. Everyone deserves the space to do that at their own pace.

When we speculate about diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of public figures in very public forums like social media or the news, their kids will hear about it. We are hindering their efforts to help each of their kids cope based on their unique needs only a parent knows.

I am sad that public speculation forced Kate Middleton to disclose her cancer diagnosis at a time she appears not to have been ready to do so. I hope everyone will now respect her and her family and give them what she’s asked for: time and space. I’ll close with one final thought.

You shouldn’t be shocked by this news. Cancer isn’t rare and it doesn’t care who we are or what we had planned. About 40% of us will get cancer in our lifetimes. Extend Kate Middleton the kindness we all hope for when it’s us or our loved one.”

Additional information.
Source: Tatiana Prowell/X

Tatiana M. Prowell is an Associate Professor of Oncology in the Division of Women’s Malignancies at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and Breast Cancer Scientific Liaison to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She was the principal architect of FDA’s policy on accelerated approval using pathological complete response as a novel regulatory endpoint in the neoadjuvant high-risk breast cancer setting, and a member of the Biden Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel Cancer Immunology Working Group. A frequent public speaker, she is a three-time recipient of FDA’s Excellence in Communication Award. She is a past Giants of Cancer Care Award finalist, the recipient of the 2019 John and Samuel Bard Medal in Science or Medicine, and the recipient of a 2020 Webby Special Achievement Award for her effective use of social media during the pandemic. A passionate medical educator and mentor, she was Chair of the 2020 ASCO Annual Meeting Education Committee.