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Senior Consultant
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
National University Hospital

Senior Consultant
Division of Gynaecologic Oncology
National University Cancer Institute, Singapore

Associate Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University of Singapore

Associate Professor Arunachalam Ilancheran joined the NUS Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1975, when it was still a part of the KK Hospital. When gynaecologic oncology was in its infancy in the 1980s, Assoc Prof Cheran was among the first doctors in Singapore to be trained internationally in this specialisation.

He spent 1983 to 1985 training in gynaecologic oncology at the Rush Presbyterian Hospital in the United States, Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Gateshead in the United Kingdom and the Veteran’s General Hospital in Taiwan. On his return, he brought with him invaluable knowledge and experience to the Department which had since moved to become part of the National University Hospital (NUH).

Assoc Prof Cheran initiated the first multi-disciplinary tumour board for gynaecologic cancers in the NUH and in Singapore in 1985. In other developed nations then, it was established that management decisions taken at such tumour board meetings helped in the overall safety and ensured best care for cancer patients. 30 years on, these tumour boards continue to run weekly at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore – a national cancer centre. All gynaecological cancer cases are reviewed and discussed at such tumour board meetings, with the care for patients carefully planned and executed. This practice of holding tumour board meetings have since been adopted by other hospitals in Singapore.  

A fine surgeon and master clinician in gynaecologic oncology, Assoc Prof Cheran is often consulted by other doctors dealing with complicated cases. In fact, the Department has established that all complex surgeries must be conducted under the supervision of one of the three gynaecologic oncologists in the Department, one of whom is Assoc Prof Cheran. This has resulted in a high standard of care for gynaecologic oncology patients in the NUH.

Bedside manners is a key interest of Assoc Prof Ilancheran, who is also a respected clinician educator. He emphasises the importance of good bedside manners to students and is able impart his vast knowledge according to his understanding of their needs.

In addition to his clinical service and teaching of both undergraduates and postgraduates, Assoc Prof Ilancheran supports research by providing ideas and actively recruiting patients for several research projects in the Department. He encourages all his patients to donate tissue to the Tissue Repository by impressing upon them the value of these tissues in research for the provision of better health care for patients in future.  

Dedicated clinician, generous teacher, research advocate: Assoc Prof Ilancheran is an inspiring role model and a worthy recipient of this Award.