On March 22, in the midst of a media frenzy, Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, announced that she was undergoing preventative chemotherapy. Photo by Ricky Wilson on Wikimedia Commons.

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous.

“The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. 

“My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.”

These words, now immortalised in a BBC video that went live on March 22, made my blood freeze in my veins.

The speaker was Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales. As I looked at her image on my laptop, my heart shattered for her. 

She is only 42. She has three young children: George, 10, Charlotte, eight, and Louis, five. 

When I discovered I had breast cancer, I was 42. I also had three young children: My son was 11, my daughters nine and four.

She waited till the school term had ended before releasing the video, shielding her children for four weeks.

While I’m well aware cancer can attack anyone of any age, whether you’re a princess or a pauper, there is something especially vulnerable about a mother in her prime with young children having cancer.

It was 2010 when I received my diagnosis. The terror of leaving my children without a mother and my husband without a wife was more than I could bear. 

I thought of the mental and emotional scars it would leave on my babies, and how these might affect them as they grew up.

Should my husband remarry, what if his new wife could not love them like they needed to be loved? What if they couldn’t love her?

Hearing Kate’s speech, I knew all these same thoughts had gone through her mind, and that icy hand of fear had likely gripped her heart like it did mine.

But, being the pragmatic woman she has shown herself to be, she did what every mother would have done: She put her children before all else. 

She waited till the school term had ended before releasing the video. That shielded her children for four weeks from questions and sympathetic looks in school.

It was maybe only 10 years after I had cancer that I realised God truly wastes nothing.

When school reopens next week, she will have no choice but to let her children return to school, knowing she has prepared them as best as she could.

What carried me – rather, Who carried me – through all the weeks and months and years of walking the torturous cancer journey was my Lord Jesus.

I had been a Christian for seven years at that point. But no, I was not your stoic, still-smiling-through-the-pain type of Christian. 

I was terrified. I wept non-stop for a week. I didn’t want to go through cancer. I battled with the Lord.

I begged Him to take it away. To give me a miracle like I had heard other women receive – a supernatural hand goes in and plucks out the tumour.

“I will give you the glory! I will tell everyone of the miracle!” I offered.

But God did not take the cup from me. Instead He brought me to the secret place where He waited till I was ready to say: “Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done.”

Not one breath was my own doing

It was only at that point of realising that not a single second of my life belonged to me, and not a single breath I took was my own doing, that I surrendered all.

It was only one year later that I began to have an inkling of why the Lord let me suffer this. 

It sounded like a cliché, but I suffered for the benefit of women in the future who would receive a breast cancer diagnosis.

God made me write my experience into a book. It was the hardest piece of writing I had ever done – still is. I cried so much during writing, I thought I would never complete it.

I pray God will come and hold her hand and walk her through this valley.

Since the book came out, I have found myself in a position of counselling and praying for women with breast cancer.

Some have passed away. Others have gone on to overcome, even get married and have children. 

It was maybe only 10 years after I had cancer that I realised God truly wastes nothing. My pain and suffering did not go to waste.

Then, Romans 5:3-4 made sense to me: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” 

I pray for Kate Middleton daily. I pray for her husband and children. 

She was confirmed in the Church of England before she married Prince William, and I trust she knows the Lord. 

I pray God will come and hold her hand and walk her through this valley and bring her out of it into His marvellous light.

I know it won’t be easy for her – I had the privilege of anonymity, which she doesn’t. 

She still has to go through preventative chemotherapy. She will have to endure it all in the public eye: Maybe losing her hair, her skin taking on a grey-green tint, her energy depleted, her tastebuds muted.

But if I know God, He won’t let her pain go to waste. 

My prayer for her is that, in 10, 20 years, when she looks back on 2024, she will thank God not only for sustaining her, but for bringing her into a deeper knowledge of Him and His love for her.


Declared inoperable and given months to live, she saw the hand of God throughout her battle with cancer

“God, if You can move the mountains, what more can You do with these cancer cells?”: Stage 4 cancer survivor Calise Teo

“My wailing was unrecognisable”: A father’s grief when his 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer

About the author

Theresa Tan