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Why Kate Middleton got cancer (& how coeliacs can avoid it)

I'll admit it: I was shocked when I heard the news about Kate Middleton having cancer. Shouldn't she be able to swerve conditions like this?

The royal family hasn't revealed Kate Middleton's type of cancer yet

The truth is, medical conditions don't always arise from lifestyle choices or better lifestyles. There's a lot more to it.

But what can we do to protect ourselves? And what does it have to do with coeliac disease?

Let's start at the beginning.

Firstly, the lovely Kate Middleton hasn't actually disclosed exactly what type of cancer she has so the press has been left to speculate. Specialists have suggested it could be anything from colon cancer to a female cancer such as ovarian or cervical.

But let's imagine it's related to the stomach and it's small bowel cancer. If that were the case then untreated coeliac disease could be the cause.

Now I'm not suggesting Kate Middleton has coeliac disease. But it's important to understand how cancer can occur. And I'd definitely want to know if there were something I could do to prevent cancer from happening to me.

There are 2 main reasons to go on a gluten-free diet if you have coeliac disease. The first is to prevent short-term symptoms including anything from bloating, diarrhoea and mouth ulcers to fatigue and skin rashes. These are usually the symptoms people with coeliac disease have in the forefront of their minds when they avoid gluten.

But the other reason to stop eating gluten is incredibly important, too, and that's the long-term implications. In many it's osteopenia (low bone density) or worse, osteoporosis (even lower bone density, putting the patient at risk of fractures). But there are a small percentage of coeliacs (thankfully, VERY small) who are diagnosed with small bowel cancer because they're either been diagnosed too late with coeliac disease or they've not been following a gluten-free diet.

This is important if you've:

  • got symptoms;

  • coeliac disease is in the family; and/or

  • been cheating with your food.

So please, please if you've not yet been diagnosed (or know someone who suspects they have coeliac disease) make sure you get tested (ask your GP for blood tests) and then follow up with a biopsy (you'll need to be referred to a gastroenterologist).

You can start by listening to the radio show I was on yesterday where we talked about coeliac disease and how to get accurate testing.

N.B. This is a 60 second snippet but we spoke for 15 minutes in total and you can hear the whole thing on 'catch up' by going to the BBC website.

If you're worried about trying to do this (maybe your doctor has refused testing) then you can check out my coeliac GP webinar where you'll get a wealth of advice from a coeliac GP who'll tell you exactly how you can approach your doctor for help. Her knowledge is extensive, not just because she's a GP but because she has coeliac disease herself and is on top of the latest research. Just being a part of the webinar is really empowering!

Meanwhile, if you didn't already know, coeliacs are statistically at lower risk of getting other cancers such as lung cancer or breast cancer. I hope that's a silver lining for you (because we coeliacs deserve one).



Hi! Great to have you here...

My name's Ali and I help people on gluten-free diets have a better, easier and healthier lifestyle. 

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