Quynh Tran
Da Nang Oncology Hospital
Da Nang, Vietnam
Fellow of the IGCS Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program

Why did you decide to pursue a career in gyn oncology or what about it interested you?
Well, when I worked as a gynecologic doctor, I saw some of my patients who suffered cancer diseases and died quickly. I asked myself, “how can I treat them or at least delay their death to allow them to say goodbye to their families?” That is the reason I wanted to pursue gyn oncology.

Tell us about your work in women’s cancer: daily activities and/or special projects.
I want to share with you a screening plan that I have cherished for a long time. As a developing country, cervical cancer is the second common gynecological cancer with 7 deaths per day in Vietnam. However, cervical screening in Vietnam is currently opportunistic and findings from a survey in 2003 showed that approximately 4-6% of women across urban and rural regions have been screened. Therefore, we are working towards a new effective screening program starting first in Da Nang to target high-risk women once or twice in their lives using a highly sensitive test, with an emphasis on high coverage (> 80%) of the targeted population.

Tell us about the person or people who have inspired you the most in your career.
All of my mentors have important roles in my life. It is hard for me to choose one. In the beginning, learning oncological knowledge and skills was tougher than I thought. The mentors guided and encouraged me via a lot of online talks and regular site visits. While Dr. Tri Dinh is a sweet teacher with particularly unconditional advice, Dr. Joe Ng is a happy mentor who makes difficult lessons funnier and easier to understand. Dr. Linda Van Le is so kind and has an academic education to help me learn quickly. Last but not least, Dr. Tran Tu Quy, the local advisor, is a gentle boss who inspires me with the willingness to learn and high responsibility.

What is one of the biggest challenges in gyn cancer care in your region? What resources are lacking?
With limited health care resources from the national budget, Vietnam cannot afford the models of frequently repeated cancer screenings of women over a wide age range that are used in developed countries. Therefore, cancers usually are diagnosed in the advanced stage and uncured. In Da Nang, compounding the problem is patients that have inappropriate care for their cancers by untrained general gynecologists that present to centers with complications arising from such treatment or with progressive disease. Hence, the IGCS program is helping not only me but also cancer women and contributes to controlling gynecological malignancies in Da Nang, Vietnam.

How long have you been a member and how did you become involved with IGCS?
I used to be an obstetric & gynecologic doctor. So, when I started the IGCS fellowship, I had a background in gyn oncology as juniors. I have been an IGCS member for three years– neither short nor long. Although I have been taking the first steps in working as a gyn oncologist, I know that I have a long way in taking care of cancer women to go. So, I hope I will continue to have a healthy motivation towards work until the very end.

Is there a story/example of a time you were especially proud of your involvement with IGCS?
During my 3 years at IGCS, the overwhelming support from mentors and international experts have shaped me into a properly trained gyn oncologist. IGCS training has given me access to modern oncological sources, where I’m then able to provide better cancer care for Da Nang women. There are no words that can express my gratitude for what IGCS has done for me and what it means to me. Thank you so much.

Does your country/region have a traditional food or drink? Do you like it?
Da Nang is the third-largest city of Vietnam–a coastal city that is emerging as an appealing destination. The city’s charms include a riverfront promenade where locals sip iced coffee, long beautiful beaches surrounded by mountains and the central region’s best-known foods. Bun cha ca (fishcake noodle soup) is not only Da Nang’s definitive dish, but also popular amongst seafood lovers due to its generous chunks of grilled fishcakes, green onions, beansprouts, mint leaves and fine rice vermicelli noodles. Using a choice of mackerel, barracuda, or lizardfish, the meat is marinated with garlic, pepper, salt, and chili before it’s kneaded into small pieces and grilled until fully cooked. Meanwhile, the broth is prepared by simmering a mix of fish bones, pumpkin, cabbage, pineapple, tomato, and dried bamboo shoots, resulting in a rich, hearty, and flavorful ensemble.