Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper
Mar 28, 2015
Women all over the world applauded Hollywood star Angelina Jolie earlier this week for taking charge of her health and revealing in a New York Times op-ed piece that she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.
Jolie carries a mutation in the BRCA1 gene which places her at a high risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer, which was the reason she underwent preventive double mastectomy in 2013. The 39-year-old mother of six lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.
Singer and radio DJ Daphne Khoo can somewhat relate to Jolie.
The 28-year-old, who was a former Singapore Idol finalist, had her left ovary and left fallopian tube removed, along with a tumour 13cm in diameter next to the ovary in 2012.
She had the surgery performed after being diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer.
She was advised to completely remove her remaining ovary and remaining fallopian tube to reduce the risk of cancer returning.
She did not because she had hopes of having her own children.
The following year, she was diagnosed with stage zero cervical cancer and was again encouraged to consider the preventive surgery.
Stage zero cancers are often highly curable, usually by removing the entire tumour with surgery.
But she put it off again, although she underwent surgery to remove part of her cervix.
"I'm still young and I want to have children. If I already have children - I'm open to adoption, too - then I will do (the surgery).
"But if (having children) doesn't work out then it's time to think about (surgery)," she told The New Paper over the phone.
Dr Wong Seng Weng, medical director at The Cancer Centre, said that conceiving with one fallopian tube and one ovary is possible, although chances can be lower than if all the reproductive organs were intact.
When asked if she has set a deadline for herself, Khoo, who declined to reveal her dating status, simply laughed.
"It's hard to say, but hopefully, I want to have children before I am 35," said Khoo, adding that Jolie made a "smart move".
"She already has children of her own. I probably would have done the same if I had my own kids," she said.
Jolie's recent preventive surgery was something she had planned for some time.
She went ahead with it after a number of her inflammatory markers were found to have elevated, posing a possible cancer threat.
Khoo, whose song Greatest features on the official album of the 28th South-east Asian (SEA) Games, Songs of the Games, faced symptoms of early menopause, which included hot flashes, after her 2012 surgery.
She also went through nine weeks of chemotherapy and regular check-ups every three months for the first two years post-surgery.
These days, she still has to undergo pap smear tests and check-ups periodically to monitor her cancer markers.
Asked if she fears a cancer relapse, Khoo said: "It was scary, but I can't always live in fear..the most important thing to me now is that I am happy and am surrounded by people that I love. Life is so unpredictable."
"She (Jolie) already has children of her own. I probably would have done the same if I had my own kids. "
This article was first published on March 28, 2015.
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