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Ask an Oncology Expert with Dr. Fong Liu

January 12, 2022
Fong W. Liu, MD, MPH, is a gynecologic oncologist at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute at GBMC. She is board-certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology and earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Alabama. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where she also served as an instructor. Dr. Liu is an assistant professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

On January 12, Dr. Liu discussed her work with gynecological oncology patients. Her patients motivate her to continue to study, teach and put her best efforts toward caring for her patients. Dr. Liu shared that it is important, as women, to be sure you care for yourself and not minimize any signs or symptoms while caring for your family.

Three Takeaways

  1. Regular, in-person screenings and pelvic exams are the most important factors when it comes to catching gynecological cancers early. Despite the pandemic, it is still very important for women to receive regular exams and to see their doctor if they notice any abnormal symptoms such as post-menopausal spotting or bleeding. Family history is also very important, and women should not be afraid to talk to their family members about medical issues so they can understand their own risk better.
  2. The most common type of gynecological cancer is endometrial cancer, with 55,000 women diagnosed annually. Endometrial cancer is not the same as endometriosis, which does not pose a risk for endometrial cancer. However, women with excess estrogen, especially those with a family history of gynecological cancer or who are overweight, might be at risk and should receive regular screenings. Excess estrogen can be managed somewhat by maintaining a healthy diet and weight.
  3. All three treatment modalities (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy) are not always needed to treat gynecological cancers. It often depends on the site and the stage of the cancer, as well as other patient characteristics to determine the best course of treatment.
It is important for patients to utilize the Oncology Support Services Program at GBMC. Often patients' family and friends offer to help in a way that might not be what is best at the time, and it is important for patients to speak up and ask for what they truly need, which sometimes might mean the occasional moment of alone time. Support Dr. Liu's patients and others by considering a contribution to Oncology Support Services.
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