King Charles has cancer and we don’t know what kind. How we talk about it matters.

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King Charles III has cancer. No, we don't know what kind. No, we don't know how advanced. No, we don't know, well, much of anything.

The news – which Buckingham Palace announced Monday – follows a recent prostate procedure for Charles, whose coronation was last May.

"He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible," the statement read. "His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer."

Speculation, though, will run rampant anyway, as it did for his daughter-in-law Princess Kate amid her own recent planned abdominal surgery, subsequent hospitalization and pause of public duties.

Experts warn that while it's certainly OK to wonder about the lives of public figures – or anyone in their life – people should remember that everyone deserves respect amid a health scare. And a man like Charles, in this case, is still human.

"Due to the public nature of their life, some people can inappropriately believe they are entitled to every aspect of their life which is untrue," says Chase Cassine, licensed clinical social worker. "Celebrities and public figures are humans and deserve the fundamental human right of autonomy and self-determination by controlling what aspects of their lives will be self-disclosed."

Britain’s King Charles III – recently diagnosed with cancer – and Queen Camilla are seen leaving The London Clinic on Jan. 29, 2024, in London, England.
Britain’s King Charles III – recently diagnosed with cancer – and Queen Camilla are seen leaving The London Clinic on Jan. 29, 2024, in London, England.

'We should avoid assumptions'

Health scares are, for lack of a better word, scary. Though Charles may be "wholly positive," we're not privy to all the nuances bouncing around his brain. We also don't need to know.

"We should avoid assumptions about how he feels," says Amy Morin, psychotherapist, author of "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do" and the host of a podcast. "The emotional response someone has to a diagnosis is individual and personal."

Just because someone has a crown on their head doesn't render them immune to pain or suffering – from a serious health condition or gossip.

"Instead of speculating and spreading false information, people should allow a safe and respectful space for the person whether they are providing information on their protected health information or not," Cassine says. "They are not obligated to do so."

The full story: King Charles III diagnosed with cancer following hospitalization for prostate procedure

'Outside opinions' not helpful

If you're struggling on how to think about Charles – or maybe how to talk to a sick individual in your life – keep it simple.

"It's safe to say things like, 'We're wishing him the best,'" Morin adds. "It's important to avoid judgments about treatment options. It's up to the patient and the doctor to determine the best course of action. Outside opinions about treatments and suggestions about how to proceed aren't helpful."

If you don't want to say anything at all, you could even send a card or a meal without asking any questions at all.

Generally speaking: "You can be sensitive to someone's health struggles without knowing the details," Morin says. "You can wish the person well without knowing what's wrong. And you can let them know you're thinking of them without understanding the extent of their treatment."

Heads up: Princess Kate's surgery news ignites gossip. Why you should mind your business.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: King Charles III's cancer unknown. Why how we talk about it matters.