55-year-old Mr Sim Teong Choon, had been smoking for 39 years before he quit at the age of 52. He used to smoke up to 2 packets a day. At the age of 52, he was diagnosed with throat cancer.

mr sim


Mr Sim started smoking after he got influenced by his peers at the tender age of 13. He tried to quit smoking twice, but each attempt ended up with him smoking more than he did before he tried quitting. He suffered from coronary heart disease at the age of 50 and underwent surgery. At the age of 52, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and was told by his doctor that he would only have 6 months left to live that if he did not undergo surgery. With a 50 per cent chance of survival, the father of 2 underwent radiotherapy and surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes. After surgery, he quit smoking.

It was not an easy recovery for Mr Sim post-surgery. He faced occasional breathing problems and could hardly move his neck and shoulder as they felt tight and weak. He went for physiotherapy exercises to make his neck and shoulder muscles stronger and more flexible. Soon he was able to regain his shoulder and neck movement functions.

He is a member of Singapore Cancer Society’s support group – New Voice Club. The New Voice Club consists of members who have had some form of laryngeal cancer and have undergone surgical treatment or laryngectomy. Speech practice sessions conducted by its members have enabled many to regain their ability to communicate with others. With this support Mr Sim feels encouraged and is able to cope with this challenging phase of his life.

Using himself as an example, Mr Lim has been advocating anti-smoking to his younger colleagues in his workplace.

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