From The Straits Times    |

Photo: Sidus HQ

Fans around the world were shocked when Korean actor and model, Kim Woo Bin, 28, revealed that he has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer. Kim Woo Bin, who began his career as a model for brands like Calvin Klein, is best known for his breakout role in teen idol drama, The Heirs, where he starred alongside Lee Min Ho.

The Uncontrollably Fond Actor felt like something was amiss with his health when he started getting frequent nosebleeds and a swollen neck. Determined to be in tip-top physical condition for the movie that he was filming “Wiretap”, Kim Woo Bin underwent a thorough check-up that led to the discovery of his condition.


Despite being struck down with cancer, the heartthrob initially wanted to keep his illness under wraps. He even wanted to continue filming activities for “Wiretap”. The movie’s director, Choi Dong Hoon, wanted the actor to concentrate on his health instead. It was then when Kim Woo Bin decided to unveil his condition. In July of this year, a representative from his agency, Sidus HQ, announced that the actor finished his first round of chemotherapy. It seems he is healthy enough to exercise. Since his diagnosis in May, the Friend: The Great Legacy star lost more than 20 pounds from chemotherapy. Kim Woo Bin is in the care of his family and actress girlfriend, Shin Min Ah. According to a recent update from Sidus HQ, the actor is “receiving his treatments well” but the full details of his condition will only be known at the end of his treatment.

Photo: Giordano Korea

While we don’t have full details of Kim Woo Bin’s illness, here are some of the things you should know about the illness.  


What is nasopharyngeal cancer?

Photo: 123rf

The nasopharynx is the area behind the nose, above the back of the throat. When the cells lining the nasopharynx become cancerous, nasopharyngeal cancer would occur.  


What are the signs?

Apart from swelling in the neck and excessive nose bleeding or discharge or blockage, other symptoms include a painless lump in the neck, a decreased hearing or ringing in the ears, pain or numbness in the face, double vision or headache.


What are some of the factors that increase your risk of getting nasopharyngeal cancer?

Cancer Research UK states that the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer is higher in individuals with relatives with the condition. Also, individuals who are long term smokers (30 years or longer) are also thrice as likely to be at risk of nasopharyngeal cancer. People who have had chronic ear, nose and throat conditions might also have an increased risk of getting nasopharyngeal cancer. There have also been claims that suggest that individuals who lack essential vitamins and minerals in their diet are more likely to suffer from nasopharyngeal cancer.


Is it common?

It is quite an uncommon cancer. Based on statistics from the National Cancer Centre, it is the eight most common cancer amongst Singaporean men. The cancer affects men more frequently than women. It is more frequently seen amongst individuals between the ages of 35 and 55 and is more prevalent among the Chinese, in particular the Cantonese community.


How do you treat nasopharyngeal cancer?

There are three main treatment methods , radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. Radiotherapy is used on the area that covers the region around the nasopharynx, neck and collarbone. Chemotherapy comes in when the cancer spreads to other parts of the body like lungs, liver and bones. If the cancer in the nasopharynx recurs even with radiotherapy, surgery is considered when there is no spread of cancer elsewhere in the body.


The above information is provided by the National Cancer Centre Singapore. For more information, please visit