King Charles and Toby Keith

B. Lenoir/Shutterstock s_bukley/Shutterstock Skorzewiak/Shutterstock (Licensed) Linzi Silverman

Spate of high-profile cancer diagnoses, deaths prompts conspiratorial fear-mongering over vaccine-induced ‘turbo cancer’

'I've never seen cancers behaving like this.'


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Feb 6, 2024

Buckingham Palace announced on Monday that King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer, causing an explosion of conspiracy theories online, helping further an insidious new claim making its way around the internet.

Spurred on also by the death of Toby Keith, suddenly conspiracy pushers were claiming “turbo cancer” was a thing.

In a statement on the matter, the palace said that the 75-year-old king would be avoiding public events for the foreseeable future to minimize his contact with other people.

During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted,” the statement said. “Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.”

News of the diagnosis was immediately met with outlandish theories on social media, where users argued over what had caused the King’s cancer.

Over on the conspiratorial blog the Gateway Pundit, users quickly blamed the COVID-19 vaccine.

“How many modRNA boosters has Charles had I wonder…” one commenter wrote.

“Covid jabs probably gave Charlie the cancer,” another added.

But conspiracy theorists in far-right circles have long speculated about the deaths caused by vaccines whenever something inexplicable happens. Because King Charles had a specific diagnosis, something else needed to be at work. It couldn’t just be cancer, but vaccine-induced turbo cancer.

With country music star Keith also passing away from cancer this week, claims of “turbo cancer” started spreading online.

Despite Keith’s diagnosis coming in June 2022, meaning he lived over a year-and-a-half, some claimed that the malignant disease still swiftly felled him.

But turbo cancer wasn’t the accusation made in the wake of Charles’ diagnosis.

QAnon followers on X made even more outrageous claims, at one point suggesting that former President Donald Trump had foreknowledge of Charles’ diagnosis. Last week, Trump bizarrely compared himself to Elvis Presley on Truth Social. The QAnon movement believes the post mentioning Presley, commonly referred to as the King of Rock, was somehow hinting at King Charles.

Some users on the popular r/conspiracy subreddit instead claimed that Charles had faked the cancer diagnosis to escape to an underground bunker.

“Are they all heading into the bunkers before the inevitable Doom? It’s all feeling so real. How are we supposed to survive this?” one user asked. “I’m trying to think of ways we can bunker down ourselves, were not central to a city, were in a small village/town, in a small inconspicuous cul de sac, set right back in a corner. We appear to be well protected on all sides. I think my utter paranoia is deceiving me but I just dont know what to do with myself.”

Another popular claim also alleged that the cancer diagnosis was part of a sinister plot to convince the public to take more vaccines. Over the weekend, Britain began trialing a new mRNA cancer vaccine made by pharmaceutical company Moderna on human patients.

Although similar vaccines have been tested on the public in the past, conspiracy theorists suggested that Charles would soon receive the new shot and quickly recover to convince the public to trust inoculations.

“Just in time for Charlie to give the jabs a try, miraculously recover and push them on to all the idiots who believe a recycled Covid jab can cure or prevent cancer, a non-infectious condition caused (many say) in most instances by hypoxia at a cellular level and not something that will respond positively to mRNA shots,” one anti-vaxxer wrote.

No evidence whatsoever exists to support any of the conspiracy theories mentioned.

The Palace has thus far declined to reveal what kind of cancer Charles has, but did state that it wasn’t prostate cancer. They noted the king has already begun regular treatment following the diagnosis.

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*First Published: Feb 6, 2024, 10:06 am CST