Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) announced in a media release on Sunday (Feb 15).
Mr Lee will undergo surgery to remove his prostate gland on Monday. The robot-assisted keyhole prostatectomy will be carried out by Prof Christopher Cheng, the lead urologist at the Singapore General Hospital.
The Prime Minister had decided on the surgical treatment option on the advice of a panel of doctors led by Prof Cheng. This was after an MRI on Mr Lee's prostate, performed in January, showed suspicious lesions, and a subsequent biopsy found that one out of 38 samples contained cancer cells.
Mr Lee is expected to recover fully, the PMO said. It cited data from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre that shows patients with a similar medical profile and treatment have a cancer-specific survival rate of 99 per cent at 15 years.
On Sunday evening, Prime Minister Lee posted a selfie of himself in hospital last month, and thanked well-wishers, saying he is "all set" for surgery.
Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer among Singaporean men according to the Health Promotion Board. It develops when tissues in the prostate gland - a gland in the male reproductive system - turns cancerous. Common treatments for it include radiation therapy, hormone therapy, surgical removal of the prostate gland and chemotherapy.
While the exact cause of the disease is unclear, the risk of getting it rises after the age of 50.
PM Lee turned 63 years old on Feb 10.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong underwent a successful surgery for prostate cancer last November and was given a clean bill of health after the operation.
The Prime Minister will be on medical leave for one week, during which Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister. In a Facebook post, Mr Teo wished Mr Lee a speedy recovery.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam also wished Mr Lee "a successful surgery, a speedy and complete recovery, and the very best of health".
"PM Lee told me earlier this week of his impending surgery for prostate cancer," said President Tan in a Facebook post on Sunday. "As the condition was detected early, the doctors expect him to make a full recovery after the operation."
The People's Action Party also wished its Secretary-General a speedy recovery.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak also offered his well wishes.
Mr Lee was previously diagnosed with lymphoma in 1992 and the cancer went into remission after successful chemotherapy. His current condition is not related to the previous case of lymphoma.