Her work has expanded from Carle Cancer Institute Urbana in 2017 to Carle Cancer Institute Normal in 2018. Twice a month she sees patient referrals and works with medical oncologists and radiation oncologists at Normal. Identifying and treating ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, cervical cancer and vulvar cancer are all included in Dr. Cheng’s specialty.
All patient surgeries are done in Urbana and Dr. Cheng works closely with other providers and follows patients after a surgery. Patients in the Bloomington-Normal area can have all of their follow-up visits done closer to home at the Cancer Institute.
“Dr. Cheng is a specialized resource never before present in our community. She makes it very convenient for this patient population to be seen close to home. Having this resource in Bloomington/Normal is a true benefit to those patients in need of this care,” Joe Prosser, FACHE, MBA, director Carle Cancer Institute Normal said.
A native of New Mexico, Dr. Cheng earned her undergraduate degree at Cornell University in New York and came to the University of Illinois College of Medicine where she was a medical scholar earning both her MD and PhD. Her PhD is in molecular biology and it was there she studied yeast and the response to estrogen.
She then went on with her medical training and her gynecologic oncology fellowship at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
“When I was a med student, I thought I would never enjoy doing surgery on patients with cancer,” Dr. Cheng said. However, the more she learned about it, the more she wanted to work in a clinic where she could develop rapport with patients, problem-solve with oncologists and radiation oncologists at Normal as well as do surgery.
She has all of that at Carle and uses her pleasant and caring disposition to face medical challenges in an area where patient backgrounds range from metropolitan to rural.
The biggest challenge is teaching women not to ignore their symptoms, she said. Often, she sees menopausal women focusing on things other than their health and not addressing issues such as postmenopausal bleeding or spotting when it first occurs. This is a sign of a problem that needs to be further investigated and she sees referrals of these cases from OB/Gyn and primary care providers.