Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has 'successful' prostate cancer surgery

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Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has 'successful' prostate cancer surgery
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[UPDATED 1:10pm on 16 February: Added statement on result of surgery]

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s surgery for prostate cancer was successful, his office said on Monday.

“The surgery went very smoothly, and he is expected to recover fully," Professor Christopher Cheng, the lead urologist at the Singapore General Hospital who undertook the operation said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Cheng confirmed that there is no relationship between the previous lymphoma and the current prostate cancer.

"PM Lee is grateful for the good wishes from all," the statement read.

On Sunday, the PMO announced that Lee would undergo surgery on Monday for prostate cancer.

He "is expected to recover fully" after the surgery, which will be for the removal of his prostate gland, the office said in a statement.

The robot-assisted keyhole prostatectomy will be carried out by Prof Christopher Cheng, lead urologist at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), the statement added.

Patients with similar medical profile and treatment have a cancer specific survival rate of 99 per cent at 15 years, the PMO said, citing data from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre.

Last month, Lee had undergone an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan that revealed "suspicious lesions" on his prostate.

The 63-year-old prime minister decided on the surgical treatment option on the advice of a panel of doctors led by Cheng, according to the PMO.

In the meantime, Lee will go on a week's medical leave, and Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will take over as Acting Prime Minister.

Lee is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in 1992 with lymphoma, blood cell tumours that develop from white blood cells.

He was Minister for Trade and Industry as well as Deputy Prime Minister at the time, and he relinquished his trade post while going on three months of chemotherapy, after which his cancer went into remission.

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'All set'

In a post on his Facebook page Sunday night an hour after the surgery was announced, Lee said, "I'm all set for my op tomorrow, and so are my surgeon and medical team".

He thanked the public for their concern, noting that he had already received "so many" emails, SMSes and messages wishing him well.

He also posted a photo of himself in SGH last month for the prostate biopsy that detected the cancer. In the photo, he explained, he has a pulse oximeter on his finger to track oxygen in his bloodstream.

"Ho Ching (his wife) helped me take this selfie of ET phoning home," he wrote, adding a smile emoticon after.

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