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A/Prof Tan Ker Kan

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  • Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, National University Hospital
  • Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore


MBBS, MMed (Surgery), FRCS (Edin), PhD (Public Health)


General Surgery

Clinical Disciplines/Programmes:

Colorectal Surgery, Surgery, Surgical Oncology, Surgical Oncology (Colorectal Surgery)

Special Interests:

Colorectal cancer, Key-Hole/Laparoscopic surgery, Anal fistula, Haemorrhoids, Colonoscopy


Dr Tan graduated from the medical school at the National University of Singapore and then completed his advanced training in General Surgery. He subsequently obtained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (General Surgery) in Hong Kong and was accorded Specialist accreditation in General Surgery by Ministry of Health, Singapore in the same year.

He completed the fellowship training programme in Colorectal Surgery at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia. During his time there, he received formal training in advanced laparoscopic colorectal surgery, and complex pelvic operations such as exenterations for recurrent and advanced pelvic malignancy. To date, he has performed over 1500 abdominal operations with a firm interest in minimally invasive surgery for colorectal cancer. 

Apart from his clinical practice, Dr Tan is an avid researcher and has published over 140 publications and book chapters. He is also an active reviewer for renowned journals including the Lancet, British Journal of Surgery and Diseases of Colon & Rectum. Locally, his work has been cited on several occasions in The Straits Times and Chinese newspapers. He has also been interviewed by the local media including the radio and television. Outside Singapore, Dr Tan is also frequently invited to share his clinical expertise and has delivered numerous presentations at international meetings. 

On top of his research work, Dr Tan has recently completed his PhD in the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health in the National University of Singapore where he looked at screening amongst the family members of colorectal cancer patients. In recognition for his ongoing effort in promoting colorectal screening in Singapore, he was awarded several Health Services Research Grants and also the Clinician Scientist Award by the National Medical Research Council to further his work.

Dr Tan is also active in his role as an Associate Professor in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine where he was the convener for the final Professional Main and Supplementary examinations for the school of medicine (Surgery Track). Apart from that, he has been active in the education of both medical students and surgical trainees. Together with his surgical trainees, they have won numerous accolades at local and regional conferences for their research work. 

He is currently the Vice Chairman of the NUH Medical Board, taking care of research matters for NUH and NUHS and also the Assistant Dean for Research in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in NUS.


  • 2021 – NMRC Health Services Research Grants
  • 2020 – Ministry of Education Tier 1 Academic Research Fund
  • 2019 - NMRC Clinician Scientist Award
  • 2018 - NMRC Clinician Scientist/Clinician Investigator Salary Support Programme (CS/CISSP) Award
  • 2017 - NMRC Health Services Research Grant
  • 2017 - Ministry of Education Tier 1 Academic Research Fund

Journals & Publications

  1. Tan KK,Lim TZ, Chan DK, Chew E, Chow WM, Luo N, Wong ML, Koh GC. Getting the first degree relatives to screen for colorectal cancer is harder than it seems - Patients' and their first degree relatives' perspectives.Int J Colorectal Dis. 2017. Jul; 32(7): 1065-1068.
  2. Tan KK,Koh GC. Could spouses of Colorectal Cancer patients possess higher risk of developing Colorectal cancer?Int J Colorectal Dis. 2018 Mar;33(3):353.
  3. Lim TZ, Lau J, Wong GJ, Tan KK. Colorectal cancer in patients with single versus double positive faecal immunochemical test results: A retrospective cohort study from a public tertiary hospital. PLOS ONE. 2021 Jun 4;16(6): e0250460. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0250460.
  4. McGovern N, Shin A, Low G, …,Tan KK,et al, Ginhoux F. Human fetal dendritic cells promote pre-natal T cell immune-suppression through arginase-2.Nature.2017; 546(7660): 662-666.
  5. Guilliams M, Dutertre CA, Scott CL, …,Tan KK,et al, Ginhoux F. Unsupervised High-Dimensional Analysis Aligns Dendritic Cells across Tissues and Species.Immunity.2016; 45(3): 669-84.
  6. Fukawa T, Yan-Jiang BC, Min-Wen JC, …,Tan KK, et al, Shyh-Chang N. Excessive fatty acid oxidation induces muscle atrophy in cancer cachexia.Nat Med.2016; 22(6): 666-71.
  7. Lim TZ, Chan DK,Tan KK.Endoscopic stenting does not worsen long term outcomes amongst patients presenting with obstruction from colorectal cancers.Ann Surg Oncol.2017; 24(6): 1618-1625.
  8. Tan KK, Tan IJ, Lim FS, Koh DC, Tsang CB. The anatomy of failures following the ligation of intersphincteric tract (LIFT) technique for anal fistula: A review of 93 patients over 4 years. Dis Colon Rectum 2011; 54(11): 1368-72.
  9. Lau J, Tan DH, Wong GJ, Lew YJ, Chua YX, Low LL, Koh GC, Kwek TS, Toh SE, Tan KK. The impact of COVID-19 on private and public primary care physicians: A cross-sectional study. J Infect Public Health. 2021 Jan 2;14(3):285-289. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2020.12.028.
  10. REACCT Collaborative. Characteristics of Early-Onset vs Late-Onset Colorectal Cancer: A Review. JAMA Surgery. Jun 30. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2021.2380.

Professional Memberships

  • Society of Colorectal Surgeons, Singapore

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National University Health System
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  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
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  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
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  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
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