SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting

May 2024

Cervical Cancer Survivor Says Art & Her Child Kept Her Alive

Life threw Mickey Hui a curveball in 2022. Originally from Hong Kong, she relocated to Singapore with her husband and young son the year before. They were settling in nicely, until a routine checkup revealed that the full-time mum, who’s in her early 40s, had Stage 3 cervical cancer. But Mickey wasn’t about to let cancer dim her light — she had a child who needed her, after all.

Mummy Is Sick

“As there were no symptoms at all, it came as a huge shock. Looking back now, it felt surreal. The first thing that hit me was my concern over my young kid. I couldn’t imagine how my son could live without mummy. I went back home and cried my heart out for five minutes.

Then I took a deep breath to calm myself down — I am typically the cool and collected type — before making an appointment with another doctor for a second opinion the next day. Unfortunately, it was the same conclusion: it was Stage 3 cervical cancer.

cervical cancer Stage 3 - Icon Cancer Centre
Source: Icon Cancer Centre

We had a vacation planned for the next week, the first since COVID. My son had been longing for it for ages. So my husband and I explained that mummy wasn’t well and that we had to cancel the getaway. Although he was only six years old then, he was surprisingly very understanding.

But tons of logistics questions popped up. For example, who was going to take care of my son while I undergo treatment? We had moved to Singapore for my husband’s work, so we have no family support here. I even considered travelling back to Hong Kong for treatment, but that wasn’t feasible because it was still under lockdown at that time.


Fighting Cancer and COVID!

I am very thankful for the medical system here in Singapore as it is really efficient. Within just two to three weeks, we had a cervical cancer treatment plan. Afterwards, I called my parents in Hong Kong; I really appreciate how my siblings immediately arranged a flight for my mum to travel to Singapore to help take care of us.

I had to go through six weeks of chemotherapy and 28 daily radiotherapy sessions concurrently. After that, another four rounds of brachytherapy (a type of internal radiation therapy) completed the treatment.

As expected, a lot of side effects kicked in. I suffered loss of appetite and bouts of diarrhoea, thus also losing a lot of weight. Then there were other issues like insomnia and urinary tract infections. The whole treatment took around two months, and it was truly a challenging time in my life.


I recall one drama in the midst of my treatment — my husband, my son, and my mum all caught COVID! Because I could not risk being infected, I had to stay at a friend’s home. If I had come down with the virus, my treatment would have to pause. Furthermore, my immunity was already low from the chemo and radiation.

A sincere ‘thank you’ to all my friends in Singapore who supported me and my family during that hard time. Emotional support is very important during the treatment and recovery process, and theirs was truly invaluable.

Another Kind of Therapy

Mickey's Chinese painting

When I first received my cancer diagnosis, I had looked online for information on ways to aid my recovery. I researched ‘dietitian support in Singapore’ and 365 Cancer Prevention Society (365CPS) showed up in the results. The society is really efficient too. Once I registered my information, they provided me with a dietitian consult immediately.

They were very kind and kept checking in with my case periodically. After my treatment ended, my care leader asked if I was interested in joining some classes. Currently, I make four visits a week to 365CPS’s social service centres to participate in various activities. These include fitness classes like detox exercise and Zumba, as well as Zentangle art, Chinese painting, and ukulele classes.


Mickey's Chinese painting

In the past, I would just focus my time on my career and family. Now, I really enjoy discovering new interests and unleashing my talent in the arts! The classes not only help me in developing new hobbies and passions, but more importantly I’ve made a lot of new friends in them.

Because all of us have experienced the same journey, it feels like we are more than just friends. Rather, we are teammates who fight shoulder-to-shoulder alongside one another. In the classes, everyone is so cheerful and positive. Looking at them, I feel that I am not alone and in fact, am full of hope for the future. The staff there are also all very caring and kind. 365CPS feels like my second home in Singapore.

Second Lease of Life

Cervical cancer survivor, Mickey Hui

Thankfully, the treatment was successful and I am currently cancer-free. I still have to undergo quarterly surveillance for five years, but don’t have to take any medication in the meantime. So everything is pretty much back to normal.

Yet with this rebirth, life seems much more meaningful. I still recall how calm my mum was when I called to tell her that I had cervical cancer. She said firmly, ‘You have to be strong and fight for it; no ground for losing as your kid is still so young.’ And until today, this is what keeps me positive and strong throughout the journey.”


Mickey & son

Art therapy is an integrative form of psychotherapy. It helps improve psychological well-being and facilitates self-discovery and transformation. Art therapy can also aid in processing challenging and complex emotions, life transitions, grief, and traumas.

Other benefits of art therapy include improved behavioural and emotional regulation, providing deeper insight into inner conflicts, increased self-awareness and self-confidence, improved relationships and social skills, and enhanced coping skills.

– Ms Kimberly Kiong, Art Therapist at 365 Cancer Prevention Society


Together with Icon Cancer Centre, 365 Cancer Prevention Society is currently running its inaugural #My1stPapTest initiative (till 31 May 2024), as well as the annual #My1stMammo campaign (till 30 June 2024). Eligible women with a valid blue or orange CHAS card can register for free cervical cancer and breast cancer screenings.

To make a difference to the lives of these at-risk women and support the cancer screening efforts of 365CPS, head to or

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Cervical cancer survivor Mickey and son

Cervical Cancer Survivor Says Art & Her Child Kept Her Alive