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Lim Ruey Yan
The Straits Times
Nov 13, 2022
Actress and former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Janice Koh has shared on social media her experience in fighting cancer.
Koh, 48, wrote in a post on Instagram on Saturday that she was diagnosed with tongue cancer in late July.
“What started out as a small ulcer (which I promptly ignored as I continued to work and travel) turned out to be malignant,” she wrote. “This diagnosis brought my life to a standstill.”
Koh said that over the past three months, she had two operations followed by chemoradiation treatments to not only remove any visible cancer, but also reduce the chances of it coming back.
“For me, an actor, the discovery of this tumour was a huge blow because I knew it would have a tremendous impact on my speech and my work,” she said. “Yet there was never any doubt that my priority was to survive this, to live, and to be around for my kids and my family for the long term.”
Koh is married to Mr Lionel Yeo, the outgoing chief executive of Singapore Sports Hub, and they have two sons.
“So I told my doctors to do what it takes to make me better, and I am thankful that it was discovered at a treatable stage,” she wrote.
Koh is grateful that she has a trusted team of doctors and therapists who have been caring for her, and also to her family and close friends who have been with her during this difficult period.
“With treatments now completed, the focus is on rest, recovery and getting back on my feet,” she wrote.
“Speech and eating have been significantly impacted, but I’ve been assured that these will improve with therapy and time.”
She also posted a photo of her on her last day of treatment, saying goodbye to her shell, a mould which was used to help target the areas for radiation.
Koh is a familiar face in the theatre scene, having performed in more than 50 productions, both in Singapore and abroad.
She has also acted in local television series such as period drama Fighting Spiders (2009 to 2010) and legal drama The Pupil (2010 to 2011), as well as Hollywood movie Crazy Rich Asians (2018). She served as an NMP from 2012 to 2014.