Oncologists diagnose and treat patients with cancer, according to Cancer.Net. There are three basic types of oncologists: a medical oncologist, who treats the cancer with medications and chemotherapy; a surgical oncologist, who surgically removes the tumor; and a radiation oncologist, who treats the cancer with radiation therapy.
The medical oncologist is the doctor that a cancer patient sees most often, according to WebMD. There are also subspecialties in oncology, according to Cancer.Net. A gynecologic oncologist treats cancers that are exclusive to women, such as ovarian or cervical cancer. A pediatric oncologist treats children with cancer, and a hematologist-oncologist specializes in blood cancers. Oncologists also work with other kinds of physicians and medical professionals to help their patients.
Training to become an oncologist is fairly rigorous. The person needs to have a bachelor's degree, enter medical school and earn an M.D. or a D.O. degree, according to the Colorado Health Medical Group. Medical school takes about four years. After this, the doctor-in-training takes a residency in a teaching hospital or clinic. This part of training lasts between two and five years. The doctor then needs to obtain a license in the state where she plans to work and be certified by a board, such as the American Board of Internal Medicine.