5 minutes with: Dr Verna Vanderpuye

Dr Vanderpuye currently practices at the National Center for Radiotherapy, Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, at the Korlebu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana, and is a member of the International Task Force on COVID-19 and Cancer. Her special interest areas are female cancers, palliative care, genitourinary and gastrointestinal and combination chemoradiation.

Last year you received the “International Women Who Conquer Cancer (WWCC) Mentorship Award”. You are an inspiration to women clinicians and scientists around the world. Who inspired you to go into science?

I’m not sure, but my mom was a nurse. I think all of the medical stuff she dealt with every day eventually got to me! As a kid, I loved going to the hospital and wondered how people became doctors! So out of curiosity, here I am.

What is the best piece of advice (work or life) you’ve been given?

Make use of what is available to you to do your absolute best.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Follow what your heart wants.

What challenges have you experienced whilst trying to progress in your career?

Stereotypes. As a woman I’ve been told: don’t delay having a family; you’re spending too much time schooling; you’re spending too much time travelling to conferences, meetings,  or on your computer.

What needs to change in cancer research in Africa?

Research needs to be tailored to relevance and cost-effectiveness. We need to bridge gaps in cancer control and have more protocol design input by Africans.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Redecorating & gardening.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?

Cancer is curable if detected at an early stage, get to know your body and explore abnormal symptoms. Many have missed a chance of cure by ignoring symptoms.


The views expressed are those of the author. Posting of the blog does not signify that the Cancer Prevention Group endorse those views or opinions.

Subscribe to our mailing list

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.