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PM Lee diagnosed with prostate cancer, to undergo surgery on Monday

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery to remove his prostate gland on Monday.

The operation - a robot-assisted keyhole prostatectomy - will be carried out by Christopher Cheng, the lead urologist at the Singapore General Hospital.

A statement released by the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday said that Mr Lee had last month undergone an MRI of the prostate that showed suspicious lesions. A subsequent biopsy found that one out of 38 samples collected contained cancer cells.

Mr Lee, who turned 63 last week, decided to go for the surgical treatment option on the advice of a panel of doctors led by Professor Cheng, and is expected to make a full recovery.

According to data from the New York-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, the world's oldest and largest private cancer centre, patients with a similar medical profile and treatment have a cancer specific survival rate of 99 per cent at 15 years.

This is Mr Lee's second bout with cancer. Back in 1992 when he was 40, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer that involves cells of the immune system. Then still deputy prime minister, he underwent chemotherapy and was eventually cleared of cancer cells in 1993.