Peters, Vera

Peters, Vera (Mildred Vera Peters), 1911–93, Canadian radiation oncologist and clinical investigator, b. Rexdale, Ont., M.D. Univ. of Toronto, 1934. Beginning in 1935, she studied the treatment of Hodgkin's disease at Toronto General Hospital, leading her to conclude (1950, 1956) that the disease could be cured in its early stages with high-dose radiation. At Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital (1958–76), her research on the treatment of early-stage breast cancer proved that breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation was as effective as radical mastectomy. Peters was pioneering female scientist in the conservative medical establishment of her time, and although her work was initially met with skepticism, it profoundly influenced the treatment of cancer.

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