Antivaccine nonsense Cancer Medicine Quackery

Kate Middleton announced that she is being treated for cancer. Guess what happened next? (Hint: Antivaxxers)

Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, announced this week that she has undergone surgery and is now receiving chemotherapy for cancer. It took no time at all before antivaxxers started claiming that she is a victim of “turbo cancer,” because of course. They’re antivaxxers.

I must admit that I’ve never really been much into following the antics of Britain’s royal family. Like many Americans, I tend to look at the British royal family with bemusement at the realization that such an advanced nation still maintains such an outdated and unnecessary (not to mention expensive) appendage to the government as a royal family mixed with fascination at the antics of the modern royal family. While it is true that my wife and I did tour Buckingham Palace during a trip to London in 2015, a tour I highly recommend if you ever get the chance, that doesn’t mean I’ve ever been into the royals much beyond occasionally writing about Prince Charles (now King Charles) and his love of The One Quackery To Rule Them All, homeopathy, something that Edzard Ernst writes about a lot—understandably so given how badly he was treated by Charles. Even so, I must admit to some curiosity about what is really going on when I learned that Kate Middleton, now the Princess of Wales, announced that she is being treated for cancer:

I didn’t even go into all the conspiracy theories surrounding Kate Middleton’s “disappearance” from public view for months before this announcement, which we now know to have been due to her cancer treatment, although, it must me admitted, Middleton did herself no favors when she posted to Instagram a poorly Photoshopped image of herself and her children a couple of weeks ago to suggest that she was fine.

However, I bet you can easily guess which different conspiracy theory emerged almost immediately after Middleton’s announcement. That’s right. COVID-19 antivax quacks immediately started claiming that Middleton has developed “turbo cancer” from the COVID-19 vaccines, because of course they did. Before I get to these vile quacks, though, I have to note that a number of people who made fun of this Photoshopped image of Middleton and her children are now feeling bad about the whole thing, including, for example, Blake Lively and others. (I suspect that John Oliver, for instance, will have something to say tomorrow on This Week Tonight With John Oliver after his Weekend at Bernie’s joke; that is, if he hasn’t already and I’ve missed it.) In any event, Middleton underwent an unspecified “planned abdominal surgery,” now apparently with adjuvant chemotherapy afterward:

  • On Friday, March 22, Kate Middleton revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer and undergoing “preventive chemotherapy.”
  • The Princess of Wales said that the cancer was discovered after her abdominal surgery in January.
  • Kate explained that she and Prince William had been taking time to explain her health issues to their three children and she was taking a step back from work to focus on her health and recovery.
  • Many rushed to send words of support to Kate, including her brother-in-law Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who wished her “health and healing.”
  • Kate’s news makes her the third member of the royal family to publicly reveal that they have been recently diagnosed with cancer. King Charles and Sarah, Duchess of York, had both previously revealed that they had been diagnosed with cancer.

As a cancer surgeon myself, naturally I’m very curious exactly what kind of cancer Middleton has. Given that she underwent abdominal surgery and is now undergoing what sounds like adjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy given after the definitive surgical treatment of a malignancy in order to decrease the risk of recurrence and death), the most likely cancers are either gynecological, colorectal, or, less likely, upper GI, such as liver, pancreas, or stomach. Even less likely are possibilities such as a retroperitoneal sarcoma.

There’s another clue in her announcement:

The news comes just months after Princess Kate had undergone a “planned abdominal surgery“on Jan. 17. In her new message, she said that at the time of her surgery, it was understood that the issue was non-cancerous. Ultimately, post-operative tests “found cancer had been present.”

The type of cancer was not revealed in Princess Kate’s message, and a Kensington Palace spokesperson says, “We will not be sharing any further private medical information. The Princess has a right to medical privacy, as we all do.”

Princess Kate assured viewers “I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.”

The hint? Going in for something thought not to be malignant and then finding cancer is more common with gynecological malignancies. By the time a patient undergoes surgery for colorectal cancers and upper GI malignancies, the cancer has nearly always been diagnosed and staged beforehand. As this New York Times story says:

“Unfortunately, so much of the cancer we diagnose is unexpected,” said Dr. Elena Ratner, a gynecologic oncologist at Yale Cancer Center who has diagnosed many patients with ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and cancers of the lining of the uterus.

Without speculating on Catherine’s procedure, Dr. Ratner described situations in which women will go in for surgery for endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the abdomen. Often, Dr. Ratner says, the assumption is that the endometriosis has appeared on an ovary and caused a benign ovarian cyst. But one to two weeks later, when the supposedly benign tissue has been studied, pathologists report that they found cancer.

In the statement, Princess Catherine said she was is getting “a course of preventive chemotherapy.”

That, too, is common. In medical settings, it is usually called adjuvant chemotherapy.

Dr. Eric Winer, director of the Yale Cancer Center, said that with adjuvant chemotherapy, “the hope is that this will prevent further problems” and avoid a recurrence of the cancer.

There are, however, a couple of uncommon exceptions that come to mind from personal family experience: Gallbladder cancer and cancer of the appendix. Sometimes one goes in for a cholecystectomy for cholecystitis and the pathology comes back with gallbladder or bile duct cancer. If the cancer is small and confined to the wall of the gallbladder, no further surgery might be needed, but if it isn’t a liver resection could be required. A similar situation applies for appendiceal cancer, which frequently presents resembling acute appendicitis, leading to an appendectomy, with cancer only being diagnosed a few days later, after the pathology report comes out.

In any case, I don’t want to speculate more than that about just what kind of cancer Kate Middleton has and, unlike the antivax ghouls saying that COVID-19 vaccines caused her to get a case of “turbo cancer,” wish her well. Also, I want to shine a light into the dirty rabbit hole of disinformation and conspiracy theories spread by COVID-19 antivax quacks, starting with Dr. WilliamTurbo CancerMakis:

Particularly amusing to me is Makis’ reaction to being called out for his quackery by someone pointing out, quite correctly, that there is no such thing as “turbo cancer”:

Big whoop, quack.

If you’ll remember, cancer quack and antivaxxer Dr. Makis is not an oncologist. He never has been. He’s a radiologist specializing in nuclear medicine treatments. His claim about having diagnosed 20,000 cases of cancer is silly. Any nuclear medicine doctor who’s read tens of thousands of studies over his career will have “diagnosed” many thousands of cancer cases. Actually, not really. In reality, the ordering physician is the one who diagnoses the cancer, usually ordering the nuclear medicine test in the same way that we oncologists and oncologic surgeons order CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and other imaging studies to follow up on a suspected cancer. Indeed, if I really wanted to be picky, I could say that the doctor who does the biopsy and the pathologist who analyzes the biopsy are the ones who “diagnose” the cancer. In reality, treating cancer is, as I like to say, a team sport. It’s rarely just one specialist who diagnoses and treats cancer. Usually, it’s a multidisciplinary team consisting of oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons (like me), radiologists, and pathologists, a different subset of this group of specialties being involved depending upon the specific cancer.

William Makis
Hint: Nuclear medicine radiologist ≠ oncologist.

But what about Dr. Makis’ claim that he’s treated 200 cancers? That’s not particularly impressive for an oncologist, either. I’ve lost track of how many breast cancers I’ve treated during my career. It’s now in the thousands, no doubt. Now, it is true that nuclear medicine radiologists do participate in the treatment of some cancers. For instance, thyroid cancer is often treated with radioactive iodine, which is preferentially taken up by the thyroid gland. Before his downfall, he also published work treating liver and bone metastases with 177Lu-DOTATATE peptide. Most likely, that’s where the “200 cancers” treated claim comes from.

Basically, it’s a huge stretch for Dr. Makis to claim that he is an oncologist. Again, he is a radiologist who specializes in nuclear medicine imaging, and guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s an important specialty in oncology and for other conditions! What is wrong with Dr. Makis is a claim that he likes to make that he was “curing” 80-85% of his stage IV neuroendocrine cancer patients, but that the Canadian government shut him down for some reason because they “didn’t like the program” and that the government, after shutting him down and taking away his license, is rebuilding his program, but under government control. As I’ve written before, given Dr. Makis’ history, I’d be more prone to believe that the government had a very good reason for shutting down his operation and stripping him of his license.

So what is No-Longer-A-Licensed-Dr. Makis claiming this time? Let’s take a look:

What type of mRNA Induced Turbo Cancer would require urgent abdominal surgery, followed by “preventative chemotherapy”?
  1. Turbo Colon Cancer – one of the most common Turbo Cancers today
  2. Turbo Ovarian Cancer – on the rise with a devastating prognosis
  3. Turbo Uterine Cancer – showing up in younger women
  4. Rare Turbo Cancers: appendix, gallbladder, pancreas, gastric, liver
I will go through each possibility in detail and then give my hypothesis, on what I believe is the most plausible cancer.

I note that this post is a paid post. I took a hit for you and signed up for a seven day free trial, which means that, if there’s anything else Makis has posted that I want to blog about, I’d better do it within the next seven days.

But back to his speculation about what kind of cancer Middleton has. Makis goes through the possibilities rather reasonably, but it doesn’t take long before he starts ranting about “turbo cancers.” Believe it or not, Makis even correctly suggests that Middleton is unlikely to have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and I agree, as I said above. He couldn’t, however, resist posting a picture of someone who—he claims—has stage IV “turbo colon cancer.” The woman is Elise Scott, who apparently underwent surgery for ovarian cysts or masses that pathology revealed to be metastases from colorectal cancer, which we in the biz sometimes call “drop metastases.” Given her age, she is a fairly rare case, although colorectal cancer metastases to the ovary are more common in older women:

Elise Scott

Indeed, Dr. Makis illustrates each possibility with social media shots of women with what he calls “turbo cancer” of different organs, because of course to him no one ever got cancer at a young age before the COVID-19 vaccinations. In his discussion of less common intraabdominal cancers (in a 42 year old woman), like appendix, pancreas, and gallbladder, he can’t resist referring to them all as “turbo” cancers, although he does refer mostly appropriately to them as “rare,” speculating:

  • These could present with acute abdominal pain that would raise suspicion for either acute appendicitis or acute cholecystitis.
  • This could explain the Dec.28 ambulance trip but surgery is often required right away, not two weeks later.
  • I would also not consider these “major abdominal surgeries”.
  • an unexpected cancer could be discovered on pathology examination of the surgical specimen.
  • still plausible, although I can’t reconcile “major abdominal surgery”

Silly Dr. Makis. While I agree that these are very unlikely, liver resections for gallbladder cancer and right-sided colon resections for appendiceal cancers are major abdominal surgeries. So is a cholecystectomy, for that matter, as well as an appendectomy. Let’s just say to Dr. Makis: Spoken like a non-surgeon!

Ultimately, Dr. Makis concludes:

I suspect the “major abdominal surgery” was a total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and the cancer is either an ovarian cancer or a uterine cancer that was discovered after pathological examination of the surgical specimen.

This would explain why the major abdominal surgery was done with the expectation of dealing with a non-cancerous condition initially.

  • “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”

This suggests that ovarian cancer is the more likely diagnosis, although a more advanced stage uterine cancer (or more aggressive types such as uterine carcinosarcomas, clear cell cancers, or serous cancers) would also require her to undergo chemotherapy.

In fairness, Dr. Makis is probably correct in his speculation here, which mirrors mine somewhat, that most likely Middleton has a gynecological cancer of some sort, most likely ovarian cancer, although with uterine cancer as another possibility. I’m not going to give him that much credit, though, because anyone with a basic working knowledge of oncology could come to the same conclusion. Also, whatever credit Dr. Makis gets for semi-reasonable speculation he more than loses through his many photos of social media posts by women with different cancers and his blaming their cancers on COVID-19 vaccines. As I’ve written in depth a number of times, complete with a discussion of the science and evidence, there is no plausible mechanism by which the vaccines could cause cancer, “turbo cancer” or otherwise, so fast, nor is there any plausible clinical evidence that they do. Let’s just say that some of the evidence used by antivaxxers to back up their claim of “turbo cancer” is not…strong.

Then, of course, there is the quack grifting—in my not-so-humble opinion—on Middleton that Dr. Makis engages in at the end of his post, because of course he does:

If The Princess of Wales is suffering from Turbo Ovarian Cancer or an advanced or aggressive Turbo Uterine Cancer, she will need a much more comprehensive Cancer Treatment plan than her UK Oncologists will offer her.

She will need a Treatment plan that addresses some of the unique characteristics of mRNA Induced Turbo Cancer.

This will include a spike protein “detoxification” protocol (that involves spike protein breakdown agents such as Nattokinase and spike protein binding agents with anti-cancer properties such as Quercetin, Olive Leaf or Nigella Sativa) as well as an “alternative treatment plan” that includes high dose Ivermectin and high dose Fenbendazole/Mebendazole/Albendazole.

It is true that Kate Middleton was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 three years ago. However, contrary to what a grifting quack (in my not so humble opinion) like Dr. Makis claims, “spike detoxification” is quackery. Nattokinase is quackery. Ivermectin doesn’t treat COVID-19 or cancer. Fenbendazole/mebendazole/albendazole are all speculative treatments for cancer that are unproven, nor do they treat COVID-19.

Before I conclude, let’s just say that this final passage in Dr. Makis’ post destroyed yet another one of my irony meters:

I hope The Princess of Wales can surround herself with doctors who didn’t abandon their Hippocratic Oath during the COVID-19 pandemic (unfortunately vast majority did, including virtually all Oncologists).

I, too, hope that the Princess of Wales surrounds herself with real oncologists and other cancer specialists as required, such as surgeons and radiation oncologists, and then continues to follow their evidence-based treatment advice and avoids quacks like Dr. Makis, who in my not-so-humble opinion long ago abandoned his Hippocratic Oath but projects his failure onto doctors who did not.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

28 replies on “Kate Middleton announced that she is being treated for cancer. Guess what happened next? (Hint: Antivaxxers)”

We didn’t vote for ours as well. But though he seems to be a bit less popular than his mother and grandmother were at their times, I don’t see an end to the monarchy anytime soon.
In Germany they are really fascinated by royalty, something I don’t understand.

I’m not sure if I would be in favor of a president at this moment. Depends on the form, I think. I would prefer the German model over the French or US model.

To add some reality, I, too, suspect a GYN primary. The most likely scenario, I think, is that she had a procedure for benign disease, either fibroids, a bleeding polyp that could not be removed from below, or a benign ovarian tumor, and the pathologist either found a tubal serous carcinoma (that’s where they are now thought to arise) or a small, high grade endometrial cancer. Tubal serous carcinomas are commonly millimeter scale cancers that are always incidental findings, and they can produce bulky disease in the ovaries and elsewhere in the abdomen even when they are that small. They, and endometrial serous carcinomas, get adjuvant chemotherapy regardless of stage. We occasionally see tiny endometrial carcinomas that are small enough to be missed by the endometrial biopsy that must have been done prior to the surgery, termed a sampling error, meaning that the cancer was not present in the biopsy.

Also, once there was a diagnosis of a GYN cancer, Catherine would have needed another procedure to complete the cancer surgery and to do the staging which was likely not done up front because there was no need. She was in the hospital for an extraordinarily long time, two weeks, which makes sense if she had two procedures without going home.

I pity the poor pathologist who had that case dropped on his/her desk. Talk about high stress!

Well, at least nobody said “homeopathy” in the Royal Family unit….At least out loud.

I also assumed something gynecological after they were talking about the 2 month down time. When I had my yeeterus surgery, that was the advice against lifting or exertion. Mine was all fibroids, no cancer detected, luckily.

‘if the Princess of Wales….blah blah blah….after abdominal surgery……blah blah….Will need a treatment plan……blah blah blah…..Spike protein…blah blah blah…..ivermectin…..


Straight in the bin……

Interestingly, a comment from the article in the NYT from a non-medical professional guessed ovarian cancer based on his own wife’s experience. And thanks Dr Finfer for a good take on the length of the stay (two surgeries). I don’t really see why she is still bothering to be secretive about type of cancer, but I totally support her right to do so and will stop being any curiouser right now.

BTW, Orac, I’ve lived in UK and the main reason I’ve seen and been told they keep the monarchy is the billions they bring in tourist dollars.

Orac, I deliberately post this question under a fake name for privacy reasons. I hope that it is permitted.

You mentioned that endometriosis is sometimes found to be cancerous. My close family member has a family history of endometrial cancer (her mother died from it). And my close family member, a middle aged female, has endometriosis. I do not want to alarm her unnecessarily, but I would like to know how much should we be concerned about the possibility that this could be cancerous? What would be a prudent thing to do?

Thank you

I am not a gynecologist or gynecological oncologist; I quoted one. I don’t know the answer to your question about how frequent a cancer diagnosis is with endometriosis. Your family member should consult her gynecologist. I’m sorry I can’t do better.

We tried getting rid of the monarchy once before. It didn’t go well. We had to bring it back.

So we’ll hang on to it for now, just in case.

“ . Like many Americans, I tend to look at the British royal family with bemusement ”

Yep. Trump.

Fair enough.

OTOH, one can’t help but note that the UK’s last few PMs have been no great shakes either, especially Boris Johnson, and lately Rishi Sunak has been sounding downright Trumpian himself about immigration.

Oh, and Brexit.😂

“Often, Dr. Ratner says, the assumption is that the endometriosis has appeared on an ovary and caused a benign ovarian cyst. But one to two weeks later, when the supposedly benign tissue has been studied, pathologists report that they found cancer.”

Just had to mention that it’s rare to take “one to to weeks” for pathologists to diagnose malignancy unless it’s something unusual that would require special studies and/or consultation with others in a particular area of pathology. Even a battery of immunostains on the tissue would have yielded results in a day or less.
A more likely scenario is that a diagnosis was forthcoming within the typical one to two day window and the family kept it under wraps, which of course is their privilege.

If you look up “vile Covid quack” in an encyclopedia, there’s bound to be a photo of William Makis. There are competing medicos out there but he remains the frontrunner.

Queue Igor with a “plausible” Rube Goldbergian explanation for how the COVID vaccines did this…

Or the HPV vaccine…

Or just looking at a vaccine…

Or just thinking positively about a vaccine…

Rube Goldberg may have drawn?/ created? ridiculous contraptions but at least they did what he said they would do.
Alt med not so much.

It is difficult to explain anything when all information coming out of Buckingham palace is fake (including the latest Kate Middleton video, which was at least green-screened, and previous photos).

The fact that Igor thinks he can explain anything when his admitted source is palace press releases…

Oh wait, this is about the usual level of information Igor requires in order to make an incontrovertible scientific pronouncement. I take it back.

Well, there is this from Fox suggesting it’s colon cancer. That she was previously diagnosed with Crohn’s was missed by you and would support a colon cancer diagnosis. You did mention however that colorectal cancer is usually diagnosed before surgery. Was it missed, or should we faithfully accept that the Palace version that they didn’t find cancer presurgery?

Note the date of that story: March 24. Note the date of this post: March 23. I hadn’t seen any stories about Middleton having Crohn’s disease before.

Even in the case of inflammatory bowel disease, usually if the resection is being done for cancer, the diagnosis is known beforehand, although not always. There are uncommon cases where surgery is being done for a stricture, fistula, or abscess in which an unexpected cancer is also found. Also, if Kate Middleton has IBD, that makes the claim her cancer (whatever it is) is a “turbo cancer” associated with COVID-19 vaccination even more ridiculous.

Colon cancer is nowhere as common in Crohn’s disease as it is in ulcerative colitis, so I would still go with a GYN malignancy as the most likely possibility.

Of course, you can never say always or never in medicine.

In all likelihood. We will never know for sure.

Just discovering your blog. Great. +1
My grandad had a “surprise cancer” like you describe. After peritonitis due to having a appendicitis (at 80 something!) and refusing to see a doctor until too late because 1-he was a hard farmer, who consider the pain was not worth mentioning it and 2- (but he would never admit) he was terrified of hospitals.
Lucky for him, while checking tissue after the peritonitis, the hospital discovered tumor and cure it.
Turbo cancer? Nope, except if the vaccine is able to go back in time: he died in the 2000ies. But maybe “they” are able to do that :D.

Naomi Wolf already warned us about time-traveling “nanopatticles”, so don’t scoff.

Hey, when I go to France I visit Versailles.

Looking at glittering castles is not an indication of being a monarchist. They’re nice to look at.

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