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Fighting to Overcome Stage Four Cancer

“I ran away to a gym and did a yoga class… I was crying. I mean, it seems like the world is still moving on, but my own is going to tumble down” recalls Nancy Tsang of the day her life changed.

It was March 2014, about a month shy of her 60th birthday.

Although she had recovered fully from a bout of diarrhoea a few months ago, Nancy felt something was still amiss. On her doctor’s advice, Nancy went for a colonoscopy.

It revealed the devastating truth.

“There’s a tumour in my colon. And judging from the size, my doctor suspected that the cancer may have spread…” recounts Nancy, who was immediately sent by the specialist to undergo a CT scan.

The results, the cancer in the colon had spread to the liver.

“Once your cancer has moved to other organs, it’s regarded as stage four. And that means it’s quite dangerous. So, I was really, very shocked… I feared my life is going to end soon”.

A Series of Battles

After cancer removal surgery on her colon, and more than two years of chemotherapy which she chose to discontinue due to the side-effects, oncologists treating Nancy had to pursue other means to remedy the cancer that had spread to her lungs.

That meant another round of surgery in 2017, although there are other options for treating cancer, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy.

“It’s only when you have cancer, you realise, you don’t really win it like one battle. It is a series of battles because the cancer (does) move to other parts”.

“I find I’ve become the bionic woman,” she says laughing heartily. “Because I’ve had operations on my colon, on my liver and on my lungs… I don’t know whether I still have parts to be cut.”

Nancy has clearly had the works, and more than once. But she remains unfazed.

But it’s not just about spending more time together, as Hadrian explains.

“For your physical health to recover, you also need to be in a good place mentally. When my mother was in a good mood… Then she could also fight harder…”

Knowing that she was not alone, did help Nancy in her effort to live with cancer.

“There are times when you are in pain and you are fighting through the medicine’s side effects, you really hate the whole process” says Nancy as she fights back tears with a brave smile.

“But with people coming to you, calling you, showing their love… You find strength.”


01:00 Min

A Holistic Recovery Path

Nancy has had a quarter of her lungs removed but still, every morning finds her at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, working out to boost her energy and lung functions.

“I walk, I do some exercise and I really feel good about it.”

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