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Oncology Specialist Doctor

Oncology Specialist Doctor

Doctors who specialise in cancer / oncology are called oncologists. For patients who want to consult an oncologist, it should be noted that the doctor will help you create a treatment plan based on a pathology report that describes the patient’s history of cancer and provide advice on the most suitable treatment for the patient.

Scope of Work in Oncology

Before you decide to see an oncologist, be aware of the differences in the scope of work of oncology. Broadly speaking, oncologists have the ability to do the following tasks:

  • Provide a cancer diagnosis and an explanation of the stage of the cancer.
  • Provide an explanation of treatment options and possible recommendations for the patient.
  • Provide care for patients according to oncology procedures.
  • Helping patients in managing cancer symptoms and side effects of the treatment

Types of Oncologist

It is imperative to understand the role of an oncologist. Clinically, there are three types of oncologists based on the cancer treatment procedures:

  1. Medical oncologists, oncology specialists who handle treatments using chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. The medical oncologist will generally assist in managing the symptoms and side effects of the patient’s treatment, as well as conducting routine check-ups.
  2. Surgical oncologists, oncology specialists that perform oncology surgical procedures such as removing the tumor and surrounding tissue. Surgical oncologists also often help provide a diagnosis through a biopsy, which involves sample-taking of body tissue that may have cancer.
  3. Radiation oncologists, oncology specialists that perform treatment through the radiation method. This oncologist will determine the radiation dose that corresponds to the type of cancer the patient has, as well as determine the areas of the body that may be exposed to radiation.

Meanwhile, based on the type of cancer, there are different sub-specialty types within Oncology. The cancer in the patient’s body affects the treatment method and may require the care of different oncologists. Thus, it is possible that several doctors will treat the patient depending on the type of cancer and the medical procedure.

The following are common types of oncologists:

  1. Gynaecological oncologist, cancer specialists related to the female reproductive system. Types of cancer that are usually treated include uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and cervical cancer (cervix).
  2. Paediatric oncologists, cancer specialists that treat paediatric patients under 18 years of age. Children with cancer require special treatment by paediatric oncologists since they have a different immune system and organ development than adults.
  3. Hematology oncologists, cancer specialists for blood-related cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

Diseases Treated by Oncologists 

Cancer occurs due to abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth in the body. Cancer is a dangerous disease as it can damage the body cells around the affected area. In the medical world, everything related to cancer is included in the field of oncology.

There are several cancers that can be treated by oncologists, namely:

  1. Breast cancer
  2. Colon Cancer
  3. Skin cancer
  4. Prostate Cancer
  5. Cervical cancer
  6. Lung cancer
  7. Cancer in Children
  8. Esophageal Cancer
  9. Colorectal Cancer
  10. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (Blood Cancer)
  11. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
  12. Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  13. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
  14. Brain tumor

Medical Procedures Performed by Oncologists

In treating cancer patients, the oncologist will usually first perform an examination and provide a diagnosis. After that, they determine the right treatment according to the type and stage of cancer the patient has.

There are several ways that oncologists can provide a cancer diagnosis, namely:

  • Clinical
    Performed through a physical examination and anamnesis, which is used to obtain information on benign or malignant cancer, the risk of developing cancer, and the patient’s previous treatment history.
  • Laboratory test
    In general, laboratory tests will examine the patient’s blood and urine for abnormalities in the body.
  • Imaging test
    There are times when cancer symptoms are not visible to the naked eye and are not realised. Imaging tests in the form of X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, MRI, or PET scans, will help the doctor gauge the condition of internal organs and various problematic tissues.
  • Biopsy
    This method is considered the most accurate to determine whether someone has cancer. When performing a biopsy, the doctor will take samples of body tissue that may have cancer.

If the above mentioned procedures are successful in detecting cancer in the patient’s body, the doctor will then determine the stage of the cancer (staging). The stage will be determined by the size of the cancer, how far the cancer has spread, and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Cancer is generally divided into stages of 1 to 4. The higher the stage, the more severe the cancer.

After knowing the type and stage of cancer the patient has, the oncologist will recommend the following possible actions:

  • Chemotherapy
    Cancer therapy done by injecting drugs into the patient’s body to destroy cancer cells and prevent cancer cells from growing back.
  • Radiotherapy
    A method of treating cancer using high-frequency radiation rays.
  • Bone marrow transplant
    For some cancer patients, a bone marrow transplant is performed to renew the damaged bone marrow tissue due to cancer cells. Generally this medical procedure is for patients with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma.
  • Surgery
    Cancer treatment can be done through removing cancer cells from the body, which is why surgery is one of the most frequently used medical procedures to treat cancer. Even though the affected tissue has been removed, it is better if the patient continues to do routine tests to detect the development of postoperative cancer.

When to See an Oncologist? 

Cancer, although dangerous, is often diagnosed too late. This is because the early symptoms of cancer are subtle and not physically visible. From an early age, it is advised for you to start checking up on the presence or absence of potential cancer in the body, especially if you are an active smoker, alcohol drinker, or if you have multiple sexual partners. The earlier you go for screening, the earlier cancer will be detected and treated before it progresses to a more severe stage.

You are advised to consult an oncologist immediately if you experience any of the following potential cancer symptoms, such as:

  • Prolonged coughing up blood
  • Significant change in the frequency of bowel movements and urination.
  • Blood in the stool (feces).
  • Experience anemia for no apparent reason.
  • Lumps in the breasts, testicles, or other places.
  • Change in mole shape.
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drastic weight loss for no apparent reason.
  • Pain around the back and pelvis.

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