Cancer is a serious medical condition that requires specialized care. Medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgical oncologists are the three main types of oncologists who specialize in treating cancer. Each type of oncologist has a unique set of skills and expertise to help patients manage their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Medical oncologists specialize in treating cancer with medications, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Radiation oncologists use radiation to treat cancer, while surgical oncologists use surgical procedures to remove tumors and the damaged tissues that surround them. Some oncologists specialize in particular types of cancer or treatments. Hyperthermia is a type of treatment in which body tissue is heated up to 113°F to help damage and kill cancer cells with little or no damage to normal tissue. Photodynamic therapy is another type of treatment used to treat certain types of cancer and precancers.
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer cells. Stem cell transplants are also used in the treatment of cancer. The types of treatment you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is. A patient's cancer treatment plan may include more than one type of treatment, such as surgery, medications, and radiation therapy.
Many oncologists further improve their practice by specializing in specific types of cancer or treatments. Board certification is not offered for all types of cancer, but patients can ask doctors about their experience and training in their specialty. It is important for patients to understand the different types of oncology and the treatments available so they can make informed decisions about their care.