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The Princess of Wales‘s cancer announcement will have ‘real positive effects’ for the fight against the disease, the boss of Cancer Research UK has said. 

Dr Ian Walker hoped such a high-profile diagnosis would lead to a ‘significant increase in public awareness’ and said there had already been an increase in traffic to the charity’s website. 

He added: ‘We see significant increases in uplift in terms of the number of people that visit our website for health information after these types of announcements.

‘High-profile cancer cases, like the King and the Princess yesterday, can act as a prompt to encourage people to find out more.

‘I think for anyone – being open and talking about cancer diagnosis can have a positive effect. 

Dr Ian Walker (pictured) hoped such a high-profile diagnosis would lead to a ‘significant increase in public awareness’

The boss of Cancer Research UK said he had already seen an increase in traffic to the charity's website

The boss of Cancer Research UK said he had already seen an increase in traffic to the charity’s website

‘It encourages people to find out more and to think about their own health.’

He continued: ‘On behalf of everyone at CRUK, we wish her Royal Highness a full swift recovery and return to good health.

‘During difficult times, it’s really important that the Princess and her family are given time and space to focus on treatment and recovery.’

Dr Walker said awareness was vital as early detection of cancer was ‘really important’.

‘For many cancers, by finding them early on in their progression, you will have better treatment options, and ultimately it can have a significant impact on the overall outcome in your survival of your cancer diagnosis,’ he explained

Dr Walker said dealing with a cancer diagnosis was a ‘personal journey’, adding there were support groups available for those affected.

He said: ‘I think it’s really important for people to take their time and think about how they want to talk with their family and their friends about their cancer diagnosis.’

Kate pictured with her three children in a photo shared on Mother’s Day

Cancer Research UK’s executive director of policy said doctors will ‘quite often’ prescribe chemotherapy after surgery, adding that these cycles of chemotherapy ‘typically’ last three to six months, but this timeframe can vary.

Therapies known as adjuvant chemotherapy try to reduce the risk of cancer coming back by killing any remaining cancer cells that might not have been removed by the surgery or broke away from the tumour before the operation.

Dr Walker said the incidence of cancer was ‘rising’ and that the charity expects around half a million cancer cases per year by 2040 across the UK as the population ages.

However, he added that there had been a doubling of cancer survival in the UK over the last 50 years and some ‘fantastic innovations’ in recent times.

Dr Walker said a lot of this had been driven by ‘progress through research’ and the emergence of novel technologies, new therapies and drugs.

He added: ‘We’ve also seen huge progress in terms of how we deliver radiotherapy – we can now provide much more targeted radiotherapy that focuses very much on the cancer and protects and preserves the surrounding tissue much better than we could historically.

‘Also, with surgery we’ve seen innovations like a tool called the iKnife, which essentially can tell the difference between cancerous tissue and healthy tissue.’

Dr Walker said progress had also been made in combination therapies, which allow drugs to be ‘used together more effectively’.

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