Oncology is the study of cancer, and an oncologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing cancer. An oncologist may also be referred to as a cancer specialist. They are responsible for providing medical care to individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer. Oncologists can specialize in different subspecialties, such as medical, surgical, radiation, pediatric, and gynecological oncology.
Pediatric oncologists may focus on certain types of cancer or conduct research on childhood cancers. If you have any changes in your body that your primary care doctor is concerned about, they may refer you to an oncologist for further evaluation. Surgical oncologists must first complete a general surgery residency and then a two-year fellowship in surgical oncology. Medical oncologists help their patients manage side effects and help maintain their well-being.
After residency, medical oncologists must complete another two to three years of a medical oncology fellowship. Oncologists design treatment plans based on detailed pathology reports that indicate what type of cancer you have, how much it has developed, how quickly it is likely to spread, and what parts of your body are involved. Some oncologists specialize in giving specific therapies, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery. A surgical oncologist may be one of the first doctors you go to if your primary care doctor suspects you have cancer.
Gynecological oncologists specialize in treating cancers that affect women, such as cancers of the ovary, cervix, uterus, vagina and vulva. Oncology is a subspecialty of medicine dedicated to the research, diagnosis and treatment of people with cancer or suspected cancer. After graduating from medical school, prospective oncologists must complete a residency program followed by a fellowship in their chosen oncology subfield.