A. S. Thambaiya Endowment for Research in Oncology

The A.S. Thambaiya Endowment for Chair in Oncology was initiated in June 1983, with a donation from Mr. T. Yogeswaran, representing the 10 children of Mr. A.S. Thambaiya from Malaysia, in memory of their late father who hailed from Sri Lanka.”

The objective of the endowment was to establish a Chair in Oncology, a position that has remained unfilled due to insufficient funds within the current salary scale. In response, the Faculty Board convened a meeting on December 20th, 2017, and appointed a committee to explore alternative options for the effective utilization of the fund. Subsequently, in June 2021, the agreement’s title was amended to “A.S. Thambaiya Endowment for Research in Oncology.”

The A.S. Thambaiya Endowment for Research in Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna, aims to conduct collaborative programs and activities in research at Teaching Hospital, Jaffna, and Base Hospital, Tellipale. The objective of these initiatives is to produce high-quality research outcomes that will be beneficial to the population of the Northern region.

The Capital fund (Rs 9,102,552.56) donated by Mr. T. Yogeswaran and his family will be placed in a saving fixed deposit forever and only yearly interest will be utilized for the Research in oncology.

Subcommittee Members

Dean and Professor in Community Medicine,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Jaffna

Dr (Ms).C.Rajasooriyar
Consultant Oncologist,
Teaching Hospital, Jaffna

Consultant clinical oncologist
Teaching Hospital, Jaffna

Head, Senior Lecturer (Gr.I)
Department of Pathology
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Jaffna

Professor in Surgery & Consultant Surgeon
University Surgical Unit,
Teaching Hospital, Jaffna.

Consultant Haematology
Teaching Hospital, Jaffna.

Retired Professor (on assignment)
Department of Physiology
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Jaffna

Professor of Medicine & Chair, Consultant Physician.
Department of Medicine,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Jaffna.

Research Assistants

Two Research Assistants have been appointed under the esteemed A.S. Thambaiya Endowment Fund. They will play a crucial role in supporting research activities funded by the endowment, which are aimed at benefiting the people of the Northern Province.


Ms. M. Thanujah – B.Pharm (Hons)
Research Assistant,
Dean’s Office,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Jaffna

Ms. K. UthayatharaniBSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy
Research Assistant,
Dean’s Office,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Jaffna



Screening for oesophageal premalignant lesions among Northern Tamil Patients

The incidence of esophageal cancer in Sri Lanka has been steadily increasing over the past decade, emerging as a significant health concern. Of particular note is the disproportionately higher incidence among Tamil-speaking Sri Lankans. To address this issue, a collaborative research initiative has been launched with the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and SingHealth – Duke NUS, Singapore. This research focuses on screening for esophageal premalignant lesions among Tamil patients in Northern Sri Lanka


Trends in the incidence of oesophageal cancer in Northern Province, Sri Lanka

An analysis of the Sri Lankan cancer registry from 2001 to 2010 confirmed a rising incidence of esophageal cancer, prompting a study to examine trends in the Northern Province, where 93% are Tamil-speaking. The study aimed to identify demographic and tumor-related factors driving this trend was conducted at Tellipalai Trail Cancer Hospital by analyzing 10 years of data (2014 -2023) The findings revealed the Northern Province as a hotspot for increased esophageal cancer, notably steep in Vavuniya district. It was published at the 2022 Research Conference of the Faculty of Medicine, Jaffna. These findings underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions and further investigation into the causes of this alarming rise in esophageal cancer incidence.


Trends in the incidence of breast cancer in Northern Province, Sri Lanka

In parallel to the study on the incidence of esophageal cancer, another study focusing on breast cancer is currently underway to assess its severity in the Northern Province. This study, also being conducted at Tellipalai Trail Cancer Hospital, is progressing steadily. This study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the demographic and clinical factors contributing to the prevalence of breast cancer in the region. By shedding light on the severity of breast cancer in the Northern Province, this study will help inform healthcare strategies and interventions aimed at reducing the burden of this disease in the local population.


The incidence of hypothyroidism in patients undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancer at the Tellipalai Trail Cancer Hospital, Jaffna

Radioactive iodine-induced hypothyroidism (RIH) is a late side effect that can remain subclinical, increasing the risk of missed diagnosis, particularly in patients who have received neck radiotherapy. Regular thyroid function tests and a focused history during follow-up can help identify RIH early. However, the incidence of RIH in patients receiving neck radiotherapy in Northern Sri Lanka has not been studied, and it is unclear if all such patients undergo regular thyroid function testing. This study aims to fill this gap, providing evidence to practitioners to remain vigilant about RIH risk, enabling early detection and appropriate treatment.


Opinions of professionals and the public on radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is often underutilized in some countries due to negative perceptions and poor knowledge. Northern Sri Lanka’s strong family and community networks significantly influence individual decision-making, including healthcare choices. A recent qualitative study on patient refusal of radiotherapy in the region highlighted the need for public education to dispel fears and misconceptions. This study is planned to assess radiotherapy understanding among professionals, undergraduates, and the general public in the Jaffna district.


Community lead cancer Prevention program

A feasibility study is currently underway in the Nallur MOH area, Jaffna focusing on community-based cancer screening to detect early-stage cancers such as oral, breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer. Screening protocols adhere to established guidelines to ensure the timely identification of cancer. Additionally, opportunistic screening is being conducted at the Family Health Centre in Kondavil, and suspected cancer cases identified during community screenings are referred to the Early Cancer Detection Centre at the Teaching Hospital, Jaffna. Furthermore, participants are receiving continuous health education and promotion, which includes topics such as organic farming and gardening, healthy food preparation and storage, water and air pollution prevention, exercise, meditation, and self-care practices.