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What Do Oncology Doctors Do?

An oncologist specializes in the treatment of cancer.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2014
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Oncology doctors are physicians who have graduated from an accredited medical school and then undergone specialized training in oncology. Oncology is the study and treatment of cancer and tumors in various parts of the body. It is the oncologist's job to diagnose and treat cancer in his patients, and to work alongside other medical professionals or oncologists in choosing the best treatments.

When an oncology doctor receives specialized training, he may choose from a variety of sub-fields, meaning he will receive training to diagnose and treat specific kinds of cancer. Examples of various oncology related sub-fields include pediatric oncology, which is the treatment of cancer in children; and surgical oncology, which focuses on the removal of cancerous tumors. Other oncology doctors may choose to specialize in gynecological cancers.

To become a certified oncologist in the US, one much take all necessary training and then petition the medical specialty board for licensure. At that time, an examination must be completed and passed in order to obtain a license in oncology. A separate license must be obtained to practice a sub-specialty, and this requires additional courses and examinations to be taken.

Many general practitioners take oncology training as well. This can help them more easily recognize symptoms of cancer in their patients. This may allow them to spot problems earlier than many other family practice doctors, thereby ensuring their patients get treatment as soon as possible.

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It is possible for an oncology doctor to specialize in more than one sector of oncology and cancer treatment. For instance, many oncologists can treat patients using both chemotherapy and radiation, due to specialized training in both methods. In some instances, oncology specialists will also partake in additional studies to learn alternative treatments to cancer to use in conjunction with more conventional methods. These oncology doctors may undergo training in ozone therapy, UV therapy, radio therapy, and nutrition.

In order for patients to stay healthy, it is also very helpful for oncology specialists to know and teach preventive measures that can be taken against cancer. This may include diet and exercise, as well as other precautions. This is especially important for patients who are recently recovered from cancer and those who are at high risk for developing the disease in the future.

As advances in cancer treatment and detection become available, oncology doctors must also remember to participate in continued education via seminars, classes, or networking with colleagues and researchers. This will help them to stay up to date in the best treatment options for every patient. New discoveries are made every year, and it is important that oncology doctors stay on top of the latest breakthroughs in cancer treatment and prevention.

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Discuss this Article

anon327425
Post 4

What stage of cancer is coded 117?

rosoph
Post 2

I hope I never have to find a doctor of oncology. However, I am so thankful that so many great ones exist.

Not too long ago, my sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. While it's been an incredibly scary road, she had found wonderful doctors who are giving her treatment appropriate to her and her lifestyle.

She just found out that, after just a short time, the cancer is two-thirds of the way gone. We are all so happy, and expect her to live a long and happy life. This wouldn't be possible without the doctors who spent so much time and effort learning how to treat this horrible disease.

roxytalks
Post 1

It must be really hard to be a doctor of oncology, and at the same time, it must be incredibly rewarding. It seems to me like it would be an emotional roller coaster.

There is the obvious depressing aspect of interacting with such sick people on a daily basis, many of which may not have long to live. But I imagine that it's worth it to be able to help the people who do survive. That must be a wonderful feeling.

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