Updated Feb 6, 2024 - World

King Charles III's cancer was "caught early," PM says

King Charles III leaves the London Clinic, in London, on January 29,

King Charles III leaves the London Clinic on Jan. 29. Photo: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Tuesday that King Charles III's cancer diagnosis, revealed a day prior, was "caught early."

The big picture: Buckingham Palace announced Monday that the king, 75, has been diagnosed with cancer, but did not specify the type or stage.

  • The palace did, however, note that he will be temporarily postponing public-facing duties.
  • The statement added that he is undergoing treatment for the cancer and will continue to "undertake State business and official paperwork as usual."
  • "He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible," the statement added.

What they're saying: Sunak told BBC Radio Tuesday that he was "shocked and sad" about the news and is in "regular contact" with the king.

  • "Thankfully this has been caught early, and now everyone will be wishing him that he gets the treatment that he needs and makes a full recovery," he added.
  • President Biden also took to X on Monday to wish the king a "swift and full recovery."
  • "Navigating a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship takes hope and absolute courage," said Biden, whose son Beau died from cancer in 2015.

State of play: The king was discharged from the hospital last week after being treated for a benign prostate enlargement.

  • During this recent procedure, "a separate issue of concern was noted" and subsequent tests revealed the cancer diagnosis, the statement noted.
  • Buckingham Palace added that the king had chosen to share the news of his diagnosis to avoid speculation and "assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer."

Zoom out: King Charles III ascended to the British throne in 2022, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • The disclosure from the palace comes days after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin acknowledged that he had failed to correctly handle his own recent hospitalization — an incident that caused controversy in the U.S.

This story has been updated with additional details.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that King Charles ascended to the throne in 2022 (not 2023).

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