Oncologists are medical professionals who specialize in treating all types of cancer. They can provide a range of therapies, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Medical oncologists are the primary health care providers for cancer patients and are responsible for developing the patient's treatment plan. They work with other medical departments to ensure the best possible outcome.
Medical oncologists also provide follow-up care and check-ups after treatment. Oncology is a broad field with many subspecialties, including medical, surgical, radiation, pediatric, and gynecological oncology. After a diagnosis is made, an oncologist will perform additional tests to confirm the diagnosis or characterize the malignancy. Some oncologists specialize in certain therapies, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.
Urological oncologists treat cancers of the genitourinary system, such as the bladder, kidneys, penis, prostate, and testicles. Gynecologic oncologists treat cancers of reproductive organs such as the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, vagina, and vulva. Medical oncologists must complete a two to three year fellowship after residency. Hematologists specialize in treating disorders of the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes.
Patients can find an oncologist by searching for a trusted hospital and then finding out which oncologists are associated with that hospital. The website can provide information about the doctor's education, board certifications, actively licensed states, and any disciplinary or legal action taken against them. Surgeons help patients prepare for and recover from any surgical procedures they have during their cancer treatment. A tumor board is a group of medical experts from all areas of cancer care who work together to decide the best treatment plan.
Depending on the type of cancer a patient has, they may be treated by several cancer care specialists. Medical oncologists treat cancer with chemotherapy, hormonal therapies, biological therapies, and other targeted treatments. Neuro-oncologists specialize in treating cancers related to the brain, spine, and peripheral nerves. There are also medical terms for oncologists who specialize in caring for specific groups of patients or groups of cancer.