Dr. Saunthari Somasundaram

President/Medical Director, National Cancer Society Malaysia


Dr Saunthari studied medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland and then worked in Paediatrics in Malaysia and the U.K. During the course of her career she completed her MBA with the University of Bath.  On return to Malaysia, she went on to take on various key positions in the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) and is now serving as its Medical Director, giving her extensive experience in operations as well as clinical and educational services and counselling.

She was elected as the President of NCSM in 2010 where she is responsible for the overall strategic direction and vision of the Society. Internationally, she was recently nominated to the Board of UICC 2014-16.

Dr.Saunthari brings over 20 years of experience in cancer control in Malaysia combined with personal experiences in cancer support. She has had extensive exposure in public health, clinical and supportive care issues. She has championed for integrative medicine, patient and childhood cancer support services and networks in Malaysia. She also sits on various committees on tobacco and cancer control, and has been involved in programmes with WHO, IAEA , UICC . She has been a member of the national Ministry of Health expert boards and is currently part of the consultative panel for the NCCP. She lectures at local universities and actively promotes cancer advocacy and control issues through media channels.

Dr Saunthari has had a long and established relationship with the prevention and treatment of cancer. Her guiding principle has been one of reaching out to all stakeholders with the intention of providing and disseminating treatment, support, information and knowledge. She is committed to promoting survivorship initiatives in both the health service and community. Her passion is to foster better communication and understanding of cancer across all sectors.   Besides tangible outcomes at NCSM, her guiding pillars have enabled her to be a leading advocate for relevant policy reviews and initiatives.

She has nurtured and formed excellent working relationships with many cancer and other health-related NGOs within Malaysia  as well and having further solidified NCSM’s relationship with national governmental institutions. She has also been a leader in the regional arena, having built upon existing regional relationships and also established new and wider cooperation within the region with the view to providing a more comprehensive platform.  Dr.Saunthari understands the cancer-related issues of this region extremely well and can bring new light and exposure to these issues which often enough have gone unnoticed due to the lack of visibility caused by socio-political issues.

President/Medical Director, National Cancer Society Malaysia

Secretary, Malaysian Women for Tobacco Control and Health (MyWatch)

Board Member, Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control

Board Member 2104-16, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)