Oncology : Specialists

What does oncology mean?

Oncology is the medical name for cancer. It is a branch of medicine which investigates and treats all forms of cancer. It also looks at ethical issues as well as palliative care for terminal patients.

Another aspect of oncology is that of research into new forms of treatment. Researchers hope that at some point in the future, they will be able to cure or at least control all forms of cancer.

We talk about cancer as single disease but there are in fact, more than 200 different types of cancer.

(Source: CancerHelp UK)

What is an oncologist?

An oncologist is someone who is specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Some oncologists specialise in a certain area, e.g. gynaecologic oncology (cancers of the female reproductive system).

Others may choose cancer surgery, paediatric oncology (children’s cancer), radiotherapy or drug treatment (chemotherapy).

What does an oncologist do?

This depends upon their specialty but an oncologist will be concerned with diagnosing and treating cancer. They will refer a patient for surgery or chemotherapy/radiation therapy; plan aftercare for patients who are in remission or arrange palliative care for patients who are terminally ill.

Cancer is diagnosed with a variety of methods which include biopsy, CT scan or a blood test.

Treatment involves surgery to remove the tumour followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

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