Anyone who is famous cannot be seriously ill in private. Either it is noticeable that you are disappearing. Or you notice that you look sick. But some celebrities go public not just out of necessity, but consciously – to promote awareness of illnesses and to encourage other sufferers.

Now it is not known whether Princess Kate (42) took this public step voluntarily last Friday. But one thing is certain: she receives a lot of praise and attention for speaking about her cancer in this way. And thus becomes a role model for those affected.

Your video message helps to talk more about the disease, says Susanne Weg-Remers, head of the cancer information service. “Cancer is often a taboo topic. Many people don’t talk about it. And many relatives and friends of a person suffering from cancer are unsure whether and how they should address the person.” The fact that celebrities like the princess shared such information could reduce these uncertainties.

A few days ago, Kate revealed in a video message that received worldwide attention that she was found to have cancer in her abdominal cavity after an operation in mid-January. On the advice of her medical team, she is receiving chemotherapy as a precaution. “This was obviously a huge shock, and William and I did everything we could to process and deal with it privately for the sake of our young family,” Kate said.

The message: Cancer can affect anyone

“Such news is of course frightening when you realize that it can affect anyone. Even someone like Kate, who is probably very sporty, lives a healthy life and is relatively young,” says Prof. Anja Mehnert-Theuerkauf from the board of the German Cancer Society the German Cancer Foundation. “But it helps those affected to put the issue at the center of society. Cancer is a widespread disease. It occurs frequently and can affect anyone.”

The video message shows Kate alone on a bench. Daffodils are blooming in the background and she is wearing a striped sweater and jeans. She has less make-up on than usual and looks more natural. A middle-aged woman battling cancer who had to teach three young children that Mom was sick.

“I thought it was particularly good that she also said that they needed some time to talk about it with the family, with the children,” says Mehnert-Theuerkauf. And Gemma Peters, chief executive of the British charity Macmillan Cancer Support, is convinced: many will identify with the princess and her husband, Prince William. “Some of the first thoughts parents have after their cancer diagnosis is how it will affect their children and when they talk to them about it, whether they will be worried,” Peters said. “But it’s important to give them a chance to talk openly about their fears.”

This way you can also communicate as a person affected

But this publication contained more than just this information: “What I liked about Kate is not only that she communicated it, but also how she communicated it – i.e. not dramatizing anything, very factual, not disclosing any details,” says Mehnert-Theuerkauf. With this message, Kate will be “a good role model because she shows how those affected can communicate something like this, for example among colleagues or in the neighborhood. Not saying too much, but in a way that everyone knows. So that there is no rumor mill. “

This certainly includes Kate’s politely expressed wish: “We hope you understand that we as a family now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment.”

The princess is not alone in her new role model role. Her father-in-law, King Charles III, is also suffering from cancer, as the palace announced in early February. He is also undergoing treatment and has canceled all public appearances until further notice.

It was unusual for the palace to go public with the king’s diagnosis. Medical information from the British royal family was long considered a private matter. In addition, there was the famous “stiff upper lip” – the commandment of the “stiff upper lip”, according to which the royals should grit their teeth in every situation and carry on.

Awaken understanding for cancer sufferers

Charles now dealt with it differently – during his prostate procedure in January to encourage other men to take precautions. That worked, and many people found out more about prostate diseases. The number of hits on the website of the British health service NHS skyrocketed.

This is said to have encouraged the British head of state to make his cancer diagnosis public. The statement said that Charles would like to avoid speculation and that he hopes to create more understanding for all those who suffer from cancer around the world.

And according to the British news agency PA, the London-based cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support also said that access to the website in the two days after Kate’s video message was published increased by ten percent compared to the same period last year to almost 50,000 hits per day. The organization attributes this to a positive effect from Kate.

She also received a lot of positive response to her announcement. The comment fields under the video posted on social networks list thousands of wishes for recovery, condolences and praise for going public. Some cancer patients also come forward and write about their own situation, calling Kate brave and a role model.

At the end of her video message, the Princess also addressed those affected directly: “Please don’t lose faith or hope. You are not alone.”