ESM Goh Chok Tong has cancer surgery, will undergo 4 weeks of radiotherapy

The lump was the latest in a string of health scares that Mr Goh Chok Tong has experienced in recent years. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will be undergoing four weeks of radiotherapy following the removal of a lump in his larynx.

This is to ensure that all cancerous cells are killed off.

"Just like the weather these days, it never rains but pours for me medically," the former prime minister wrote in his most recent post.

"What a way to celebrate the festive season!"

In the post, Mr Goh said the suspicious lump in his larynx was found to have cancerous squamous cells. Although scans found no trace of these cells in his neck or chest, he will be undergoing radiotherapy to make sure all cancerous cells are killed off.

"I share my medical episodes to encourage everyone to go for regular or annual health screenings," Mr Goh said, encouraging people to seek medical help if they find that their voice has changed and they have a lump in their throat.

The Health Ministry has a subsidised health screening programme, called Screen For Life, which heavily subsidises the cost of screening for ailments such as cervical, breast and colorectal cancers.

"Ignorance, delay and denial may be costly," Mr Goh wrote. "Spot and treat the cancer early, the five-year survival rate is over 90 per cent. Do it after it has spread, the survival rate drops to below 30 per cent."

The five-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who are alive five years after the cancer has been found and treated.

The lump was the latest in a string of health scares the 79-year-old elder statesman has experienced in recent years.

In November, he documented his surgery to remove a "biggish" kidney stone and the subsequent recovery process in several Facebook posts.

Earlier this month, he also wrote about how he was saved from an asthmatic attack and a near total blockage of two arteries in the nick of time.

"My thundery showers will pass," Mr Goh said in his latest post. "I am looking forward to clear blue sky before the Chinese New Year - and more good years thereafter."

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