How does an oncologist plan their day?
What Is an Oncologist?
An oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.
Because cancer treatment often involves a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, people with cancer are usually treated by a team of oncologists.
This team can include medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists.
Types of Oncologists
Surgical oncologistsspecialize in performing biopsies, in which tissue is removed to be tested for cancer.
They also perform surgery to remove cancerous tumors and surrounding tissue.
Radiation oncologistsspecialize in treating cancer with radiation.
Gynecologic oncologistsfocus on gynecologic cancers such as cervical and uterine cancer.
Pediatric oncologistsspecialize in treating children with cancer.
Hematologist-oncologistsspecialize in cancers of the blood such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Together, a team of oncologists guides a patient through all phases of treatment by doing the following:
- Explaining the diagnosis and stage of cancer
- Discussing treatment options
- Recommending an appropriate course of treatment
- Providing optimal care
- Improving quality of life by providing pain and symptom management
Oncologist Training and Education
Oncologists must receive a bachelor's degree, then complete four years of medical school to become a doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO).
After graduating from medical school, they must complete postgraduate medical education though internships and a residency program in internal medicine, which is typically another three years of paid work under supervision.
Then for two to three additional years, they are broadly trained in all areas of oncology.
Some oncologists go on to study a specific type of cancer, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, or prostate cancer, or leukemia or lymphoma.
All medical doctors in the United States are required to be licensed in all states.
This means they must graduate from an accredited medical school and pass several stages of the United States Medical Licensing Examination.
Where Do Oncologists Work?
The Bureaus of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the most common places oncologists work include:
- Doctors' offices
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Federal agencies (National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, etc.)
- Colleges, universities, and professional schools
- Outpatient care centers
The BLS also estimates that in 2014, the average yearly salary for oncologists was 9,760.
Video: What is ONCOLOGY? What does ONCOLOGY mean? ONCOLOGY meaning, definition, explanation & pronunciation
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