Oncologists are specialist physicians who are trained in diagnosing and treating cancer. They may choose to specialize in medical, radiation, gynecological, pediatric, or surgical oncology. Their duties depend on their area of specialty.
Oncologist duties and fields of expertise
Oncology specialists study the medical history of the patients and perform physical evaluations. They also fulfill administrative duties, such as coordinating with other medical staff, maintaining records, and supervising health care staff. They are also trained to perform various diagnostic procedures to find the cancerous tumors and tissues. Oncologists usually use X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), biopsies, and surgical operations.
Oncologists are trained to provide several forms of treatment, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and the surgical removal of the cancerous tumors or tissues. They also perform procedures in the areas of the body that are targeted for cancer treatment.
Check also Oncologist educational requirements and training.
Medical oncologists conduct patient examinations to make cancer diagnosis. They order tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or biopsy. After making a diagnosis, they develop a treatment plan for the patients. Medical oncologists usually recommend hormone therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Their duties also include writing prescriptions, educating the patients about their disease, and examining the patients. They spend a lot of direct contact with the patients during treatment.
Radiation oncologists provide radiation therapy treatments to patients to kill cancerous cells and reduce the size of the tumors. They work with medical oncologists and other medical staff to find the most effective radiation treatment for the patients. They may also recommend internal, external or systemic radiation treatment. Internal radiation involves putting radioactive material in the body, close to the cancer cells. External radiation uses a machine that beams X-rays or other radioactive material into the cancer cells. Systemic radiation treatment requires the injection of a radioactive material into the patient’s bloodstream or administering the treatment orally. It is important for radiation oncologists to deliver radioactive materials to the body without damaging the healthy cells, only the cancerous ones.
Surgical oncologists specialize in performing surgeries to get rid of tumors, which can help prevent serious diseases or death due to cancer. They work with other doctors to find out more whether cancer has affected other parts of the body aside from its point of origin. The more widespread the disease is, the more dangerous the surgery will be. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment often work when used with surgical surgery.
Other Types of Oncologists
Aside from the three primary types of oncologists, there are other types that are now recognized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Gynecologic oncologists specialize in caring for and treating women with uterine cancer, cervical cancer, or other gynecologic cancers.
Hematologist-oncologists focus on diagnosing and treating cancers affecting the blood, such as lymphomas, leukemia, and myelomas.
Pediatric oncologists specialize in treating children with cancer. They usually treat small kids and teenagers who are suffering from leukemia, brain tumors, Ewing’s sarcoma, and osteocarcoma.