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Do you think it's good? The topic was to write about one medical specialty, healthcare workers they work with, schooling, tools they use..
Oncology is the branch of medicine that deals in diagnosing and treating of cancer. Oncologists must undergo many years of schooling and training. They also work with different types of healthcare professionals, whether it is fellow doctors or nurses and technicians. Patients who visit oncologists are cancer patients who have been referred to the oncologist by their primary care doctors. Oncologists have many tools available to them to help aid in the treatment of cancer. Lastly, there will be many different types of medical transcription reports the transcriptionist will see in this field.
In order for one to become an oncologist, first one must attend a four-year college and attain a bachelor’s degree. After graduating college, one must then attend medical school, which is also four years. Following medical school, the new medical doctor would then do a three-year residency in internal medicine, followed by an oncology internship for two to three years. Nurses and technicians who work with the oncologist generally just need bachelor’s degrees in the required field (Wiki.answers).
Oncologists work closely with many healthcare professionals. They work most closely with a patient’s general practitioner (PCP), radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, radiotherapists, and organ specific specialists. The reason patients visit oncologists is through referral by their pcp when they suspect or detect cancer.
Oncologists also work closely with radiologists and pathologists. Oncologists take a sample, a biopsy, from the suspected tumor and send it to the pathologist. The pathologist’s job is to define the cells in the sample as cancerous or benign (Pathology). Radiologists use different technologies to get a closer look at tumors, such as: ultrasounds, CT scans, and x-rays (Radiology).
After oncologists confer with the patient’s primary care doctor, pathologist, and radiologist, they might then meet with an organ specific specialist. These doctors specialize in a specific organ or whole body system, so they are very knowledgeable and might offer special advice as to what is best for the particular patient in question.
With the advice from the specialist, and determinations from the other healthcare professionals involved, the oncologist would then decide what the best course of action would be to get rid of the cancerous cells. One of the options at this point would be radiation therapy in which the oncologist would then meet with a radiotherapist. The radiotherapist is one that applies the radiation treatments to the cancer patient. Another cancer treatment option would be surgery, so the oncologist works very closely with many different types of surgeons, depending on the type of cancer the patient has.
Oncologists have many tools they use in their field. These include: diagnostic methods, therapies, and nuclear medicine. Diagnostic methods include biopsy, which is taking a sample of the affected cells, endoscopy, which takes an endoscope, a tool used to look inside the body, and examines a certain hollow area of the body (Endoscopy), and blood testing. Blood testing is used in oncology to test certain blood counts associated with different cancers.
There are also many different types of therapies used to treat cancer. The main ones used are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some oncologists might also use some less-known types of therapies like hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and alternative therapy.
Chemotherapy is a regimen of cancer-fighting drugs that kill cells in the body that rapidly divide; cancer cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapy has side effects such as hair loss, loss of appetite, weight loss, and these drugs can decrease the production of blood cells. Chemotherapy is usually given intravenously, orally, or injected directly into muscle tissue. Chemo is given in cycles. There are also different types of chemotherapy, combined modality, neo-adjuvant, adjuvant, and palliative. Combined modality chemotherapy is the use of chemo with other forms of cancer treatment such as radiation therapy. Neo-adjuvant chemo is given before surgery to shrink the main tumor. Adjuvant chemotherapy is used after surgery and when there’s little to no evidence of cancer left. Palliative chemotherapy is used when the cancer has progressed too far; it has to intent to actually cure the cancer (Chemotherapy).
Radiation therapy is more direct in that it uses radiation to kill cancer cells. It does this by damaging and changing the DNA of the cancer cells.
The lesser known therapies used in cancer treatment are hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and alternative therapy. Hormone therapy changes the growth patterns of certain cancers. Immunotherapy is sometimes called biological therapy and uses the immune system to help fight the cancer. Alternative therapy would include acupuncture and homeopathy. Acupuncture is the use of thin, tiny needles, stuck into certain points in the body known to correct imbalances within the body. Homeopathy is the study in which scientists determine what causes a disease in one person, but might cure it in another person.
Oncologists also use nuclear medicine, also known as internal radiology. Nuclear medicine is what happens when radionuclides mix with certain elements and then become chemical compounds. Sometimes they combine with pharmaceutical compounds; they then form radiopharmaceuticals.
Asked By: Amy - 6/30/2012