updated 9 Nov 2013, 22:19
Login password
Thu, Nov 07, 2013
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
Battle can be fought and won
by Charlene Chua

1) The devastation

Last week, her life changed.

Actress Foyce Le Xuan was in her doctor's office, hoping for the best.

But the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan showed that two lumps in her right breast were malignant.

At 33, finding out that she had breast cancer was mind-numbing.

On Saturday, she underwent surgery at Mount Elizabeth Hospital to remove the lumps.

In a few days' time, her histology report will determine the severity and spread of the cancer.

Le, whose real name is Lim Hui Hui, sounded calm as she opened up for the first time after receiving the devastating news. After all, her father had breast cancer in 1994 and survived. It's rare for men to get this type of cancer.

She shared her story to empower other women in the same situation to stay strong.

She told The New Paper: "At first, I was struck by an intense bout of paranoia about death. I didn't cry as I went into survival mode.

"My doctor has told me that since one of the lumps is very near my lymph nodes, and if the histology report shows that the cancer has spread there or to other parts, I would likely be advised to remove my breast.

"If I have to, I would remove it because above all, my will to live is strong."

Last month, Le had gone to see the doctor because she was concerned about abnormal bleeding during menstruation.

Her doctor then asked her to go for a full body check-up.

It was during a breast examination that the doctor felt the hard masses in Le's breasts.

An ultrasound and an MRI scan followed and Le found out last week that she had lumps in both breasts.

Thankfully, the ones in her left breast were benign.

She said: "On Saturday, when I had the surgery, the nurses asked me to close my eyes but I chose to stay awake and witness the procedure.

"I saw the doctor dissect the lumps in my breast.

"I'm the kind of person who wants to know and see everything. I'm not afraid. When my friends visited me after that, they were surprised to see that I was still my smiling self.

"My thinking is, when something like that comes my way, just deal with it."

2) The hope

Le said she wasn't that shocked to find out about her condition as she had read that this was 80 to 90 per cent genetic.

She said that 19 years ago, her dad was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Mr Lim Yong Joo (above with Le), now a 60-year-old retiree, was at first puzzled when the skin on his chest started turning black in 1994.

The excruciating pain that he felt there made him seek medical help.

Even on the day of his surgery to test his breast tissue for cancer, his doctor had told him that the chances of it being breast cancer were extremely low.

After Mr Lim found out that he had Stage 3 breast cancer, he immediately went for a mastectomy and radiotherapy.

The cancer responded well to treatment.

Every year since then, he has gone back for a check-up.

Just last year, he was given a clean bill of health by his doctor.

Mr Lim declined to speak to us. Le explained that he is a conservative man.

Le's mum, her brother, 35, and sister, 30, have not been diagnosed with breast cancer.

She said: "I have been through it all when my dad fought breast cancer, and I am filled with hope that the battle with breast cancer is one that can be fought and won.

"..It may take up six months of your life and you have to go through treatments and pain, but after that you can lead a normal life."

3) The future

As someone in the entertainment industry, Le admitted that she did worry about the toll that breast cancer treatment would take on her looks.

She said: "I want to let people know that cancer is not something that is so scary, like how it is portrayed in TV dramas.

"Do your health check-ups soon and regularly because the faster you know, the faster you can save yourself.

"Before I had the surgery on Saturday, I was worried that the procedure would leave scars and depressions on my breast.

"But I've decided that I will face this strongly.

"I will do whatever I have to do in order to live."

Foyce in the news

Jan 2009

We first featured Foyce Le Xuan in The New Paper for a story on attractive women turning to dating agencies to find love.

She had signed up for Bedazzled fiesta, a dating convention where the organisers match-made her with five prospective guys. She went on a dinner date with each of them.

March 2010

Le became linked to the Jack Neo scandal. Le claimed that she had turned the film director down when he hit on her.

May 2010

Le made headlines when she announced on Facebook that she may be getting married to a mysterious Mr A who proposed to her with a rare, pink diamond ring.

Dec 2010

She won the Boomz award at our Flame Awards for standing out with her name, for starters.

She was born Florence but decided to rename herself after her favourite car, the Rolls Royce, while keeping her initial.

She also revealed her engagement to Mr A was short-lived and that she has a new boyfriend, Greek businessman Ioannis Zachopoulos.

March 2011

Le was involved in a car accident near Clarke Quay which left her with cuts on her face, hands, neck and legs.

Get The New Paper for more stories.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.