The Different Types of Oncologists

When you have cancer, there are certain things you can do to improve the odds of successful treatment. One of these is finding the right oncologist for your diagnosis.

The term oncologist refers to a medical doctor who specializes in providing care to people who have been diagnosed with cancer and treating the disease. There are three major areas when it comes to oncology: radiation, surgical and medical.

Radiation oncologists are medical professionals who specialize in using radiation to treat cancer. Surgical oncologists use surgical procedures to remove tumors and the damaged tissues surrounding them. These are typically the professionals who perform biopsies to detect cancer cells. Last but not least, a medical oncologist deals with cancer using medications like immunotherapy or chemotherapy.

Other specializations within the oncology field include:

  • Gynecologic oncologists who deal with cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers
  • Pediatric oncologists who specialize in treating children with cancer; certain types of cancers are more likely to occur in children like osteosarcoma, leukemia and brain tumors, and pediatric oncologists also work with adults who have one of these diseases
  • Hematologists-oncologists treat and diagnose cancers in the bloodstream, like myeloma, lymphoma and leukemia

How oncologists help cancer patients

Oncologists work with patients throughout the course of cancer treatment. The first meeting between an oncologist and a new patient is normally the diagnosis. The role of an oncologist includes:

  • Discussing the severity of the cancer diagnosis with the patients
  • Going over the possible treatment options and their pros and cons
  • Carrying out the treatment the patient decides to go with
  • Discussing how to manage the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment

When a patient is dealing with cancer, multiple medical doctors work as a team to determine the best course of treatment. In some cases, the patient might need a combination of treatments, like radiation combined with surgery. When this is the case, a multidisciplinary team of doctors is essential.

Other medical professionals who work with cancer patients include:

Pathologist: This is a health professional who translates the results of lab tests. A pathologist helps diagnose diseases and checks tissues and cells.

Diagnostic radiologist: This is a health professional who diagnoses diseases by performing imaging tests. This includes popular procedures like x-rays and ultrasound scans.

Oncology nurse: This person takes care of recovering cancer patients and ensures they are taking their prescribed medication.

Oncology social worker: This is a professional who takes care of the mental well-being of the recovering patient.

A cancer team can also require the services of doctors from other fields of medicine. For example, a dermatologist can be helpful when it comes to treating skin cancer.

When a patient is dealing with a complex diagnosis, a tumor review board may be asked to take a close look at the person's condition. These teams often comprise of medical professionals from all areas working together to provide the best solution for the patient.

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Request an oncology appointment here: or call Lindenberg Cancer & Hematology Center at (856) 475-0876 for an appointment in our Marlton office.

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