What Does an Oncology Doctor Do?


Quick Answer

Oncologists specialize in the treatment of cancer, according to Cancer.net. The three primary classifications of oncologists include radiation, surgical and medical oncologists. They frequently collaborate to treat cancer patients.

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What Does an Oncology Doctor Do?
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Full Answer

Medical oncologists focus on the use of chemotherapy to treat cancer cells. This refers to the use of medicines to rob cancer cells of their ability to divide and grow, ultimately killing them. Targeted therapy and oral chemotherapy are also a part of this sector of oncology, notes Cancer.net.

Surgical oncologists focus on removing cancerous tumors and adjacent tissue in an operation. This specialty also involves removing small tissue amounts for microscopic testing to detect cancer, also known as a biopsy. Radiation oncologists utilize radiation therapy, or high-energy particles such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells, reports Cancer.net.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, an oncologist's role includes explaining the diagnosis and staging, which tells the patient the cancer's location and the degree to which it has spread throughout the body. Next comes a discussion about the available options and a recommendation of a particular regimen. After the care itself, if necessary, the oncologist works to bolster quality of life through pain management and treatment of the many side effects of chemotherapy, radiation and other treatment options, as stated by Cancer.net.

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