Lee Hsien Loong was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January after a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showed suspicious lesions on his prostate. He will undergo surgery on Monday to remove his prostate gland and will be on medical leave for a week. He is expected to recover fully.
Mr Lee was previously diagnosed with intermediate grade malignant lymphoma, a form of cancer, in 1992. He received treatment and was cleared of cancer cells in April 1993. This current diagnosis is unrelated to this earlier cancer.
On Sunday, the PMO said Mr Lee has taken his doctors’ advice to remove his prostate gland by undergoing a robot-assisted keyhole prostatectomy at the Singapore General Hospital.
Prostate cancer, which affects a gland in the male reproductive system below the bladder, is the third most common cancer among Singaporean men. It is usually treated through radiation therapy, hormone therapy, surgery and chemotherapy.
In November, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, 73, underwent surgery for prostate cancer. He returned to work a week later and has been given a clean bill of health.
Patients with a similar medical profile and treatment as Mr Lee have a cancer-specific survival rate of 99 per cent at 15 years, said the PMO, citing data from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in the United States.
During Mr Lee’s week of medical leave, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean will be the acting Prime Minister.