5 Korean Celebrities Who Battled Cancer and Won

Kim Woo Bin Cancer
Credit: AM Entertainment, C-Jes Entertainment, Saram Entertainment

Several Korean celebrities have shared their journeys battling cancer. From diagnosis to recovery, let’s take a look at how they overcame the challenges and emerged stronger.

Kim Woo Bin’s Battle With Nasopharyngeal Cancer
Credit: AM Entertainment

Kim Woo Bin shocked the entertainment world in 2017 when he announced that he would be stepping away from acting due to nasopharyngeal cancer. Nasopharyngeal cancer is a disease in which a malignant tumor grows in the nasopharynx, the back of the throat between the mouth and esophagus.

After undergoing three rounds of chemotherapy and 35 radiation treatments, he resumed his activities in 2019, roughly two years and six months later. Reflecting on his ordeal on tvN’s variety show You Quiz on the Block, he spoke openly about his battle with cancer. “It was terrifying because it was directly related to my life,” he said. “I received so many prayers when I was sick. I believe I got better faster because of them. So I’ve been praying every night before going to bed for the past four years with the hope that the support and prayers I received will be passed on to others.”

>> Kim Woo Bin Opens Up About Battle With Cancer on ‘Yoo Quiz On The Block’

Park So Dam Recovers From Papillary Thyroid Cancer After Almost Losing Her Voice
Credit: C-Jes Entertainment, News1

Park So Dam‘s health announcement in December 2021 came as a shock to fans. A routine checkup revealed papillary thyroid cancer, prompting immediate surgery.

The surgery reportedly put her vocal cords at risk. Following the procedure, she dedicated herself to regaining her health through a full-body Pilates routine, practicing five to six times a week.

>> Park So Dam Reveals She ‘Cried Every Day’ After Cancer Surgery Took Her Voice

Uhm Jung Hwa Makes Music Scene Comeback After Thyroid Cancer Surgery
Credit: tvN, Saram Entertainment

Uhm Jung Hwa revealed in 2010 that she was also battling thyroid cancer. After surgery, she suffered from vocal cord paralysis and lost her voice for eight months. She recalled, “There were times when I missed even the sound of breathing.”

The singer successfully rehabilitated her voice through dedicated practice and returned to the music scene with her 10th album. She has also been active in various variety shows.

Nam Woohyun Opens Up About GIST Surgery and Recovery
Credit: Jflex

In late 2023, Infinite’s Nam Woohyun revealed that he had undergone surgery for a gastrointestinal stromal tumor in late April. He shared that a small tumor found during a health checkup grew larger over time. Putting his fans first, he dedicated himself to fulfilling his commitments early last year. This meant postponing a critical surgery that later turned out to be a complex 10-hour procedure requiring general anesthesia. This operation involved a 20cm incision in his abdomen, and he couldn’t eat solid food for 2 months and couldn’t drink water for 3 weeks.

Although he gradually recovered with the support of his family and bandmates, he expressed his difficulties, saying, “It’s hard to breathe when I dance and sing, so I won’t be able to sing like before. It’s three to four times harder.”

Hong Jin Kyung
Credit: TN Entertaimen

Model-turned-broadcaster Hong Jin Kyung was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014 and underwent treatment. She was greatly shocked by the diagnosis as a mother of a young daughter. However, she steeled her resolve and continued her broadcasting activities while receiving chemotherapy. In 2016, she announced that she had been in remission for two years.

Last year, she appeared on MBC’s Point of Omniscient Interfere and recalled her time receiving chemotherapy. “As a professional who brings laughter to viewers, I didn’t want to burden them with my worries,” she said. “So I wore a wig and continued working.” She added, “Chemotherapy was tough, but laughter became my therapy. Those grueling three-hour sessions would fly by after watching a few episodes of my favorite variety shows. That’s why I take such pride in what I do – bringing smiles and laughter to people’s faces.”

Other Celebrities

Other celebrities who have been diagnosed with cancer and recovered include Lee Jung, Yoon Do Hyun, Kim Tae Won of Boohwal, and Jeong Mi Ae.

Source (1, 2, 3)

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