(Left) Sharon while battling breast cancer; (Right) Sharon today, having conquered the disease. (Photos courtesy of Sharon Phua)

“In early February 2013, I felt a lump in my right breast, just below my armpit,” Sharon recounts. Then just 41 years old, the mother-of-three felt calm as she had just gone for a breast check in October 2012 and results were all clear. “I delayed seeing a doctor until April, and was referred to a specialist at SGH (Singapore General Hospital) who did a biopsy and confirmed that I was at the first stage of breast cancer.”

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“I was devastated, and my immediate concerns was wondering how much time I had left and who would take care of my three children, who were 21, 20 and 12 years old, if I was no longer around. I still want to see my kids grow up and get married, I still want to see my grandchildren. I actually cried almost every night. Another concern was the financial burden of my treatments, but my family and company insurance helped me through.”

Sharon with her beautiful family: (From left) Her husband, Adrian, eldest son Jeryl, second son Odette, and daughter Jewel. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Phua)

“Through the encouragement of my family, church friends, my boss and colleagues, I took up the challenge, shaved all my hair off.” – Sharon

Sharon was reluctant to go for chemotherapy at first. “I was scared because I heard it’s torture and there are side effects, like my hair would drop and my body would become weak. But through the encouragement of my family, church friends, my boss and colleagues, I took up the challenge, shaved all my hair off.”

Her husband, Adrian, was her rock throughout her cancer battle, and gave her the courage and strength to persevere. “I was on sick leave for a year and my husband was always by my side 24/7, accompanying me for all my treatments.”

Sharon with her husband, Adrian. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Phua)

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Sharon underwent chemo and radiotherapy for about one year and was officially declared cancer-free in 2016.

“This tough journey changed my whole attitude towards life. I love and appreciate myself and my family more, and I can now share my experiences with others who are going through the same thing. Now I go to yoga and gym more often, and spend more time with my family.”

Sharon’s words of advice:

“There’s a quote that I love: ‘You will never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have’. You don’t really have a choice when you’re diagnosed with cancer, but always believe in miracles and a hope for a cure.”

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