story allen  

Assoc Prof Allen Yeoh

Clinician Scientist, VIVA-Goh Professor in Paediatric Oncology, National University Hospital

I dreamed of becoming a surgeon as I graduated from medical school in 1990. But unexpectedly, fate would nudge me towards the path of paediatric oncology instead.

It was a cold morning when a mother brought her adopted young infant for a routine checkup. I found that the baby was exhibiting signs of abnormal development and thus cautioned the mother, who broke down immediately. I comforted her and then advised her on maximising the baby’s potential through physiotherapy

The incident was a turning point in my life. My boss, Prof Quah, who had been observing my potential to be a caring doctor, offered to train me as a paediatric oncologist. I was pleasantly surprised and proceeded to take the offer, as I shared his vision of a future where fatal cancers in children would become curable through research advancements. That baby grew up well and is now a proud mother herself. She is an inspiring example of how we can overcome handicaps and achieve our potential through love, devotion and hard work.

I am now both a doctor and a clinician scientist in paediatric oncology. As a clinician scientist, I am constantly exploring ways to improve treatment and care of children with cancer. This includes developing tests to help doctors better gauge the amount of chemotherapy that can safely cure a child with leukaemia. As as doctor, the care and well-being of the child is my top concern. I advise the family on treatment issues and how best we can use our research findings to help the child.


It has been a rewarding journey for me to see children smile, laugh and play as they make their recovery from cancer.



Much of my work and achievements in paediatric oncology could not have been possible without VIVA’s funding and support. Helping patients from developing countries in Southeast Asia would be something that I plan to address through VIVASt. Jude Forum. Diagnoses are often wrong and doctors there seldom have access to laboratory tests that can properly diagnose and stratify the risk of relapse in children with cancer. Oftentimes, excessively strong chemotherapy was used, which resulted in fatality to the child patients. 

It has been a rewarding journey for me to see children smile, laugh and play as they make their recovery from cancer. I look forward to greater progress in improving the cure rate for childhood leukaemia through research and clinical studies, so that every child can live out his dream and achieve his potential in life.