Oncology is the study of cancer, and an oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer and providing medical care to those who have been diagnosed with it. Oncologists are also known as cancer specialists, and they may specialize in different subspecialties such as medical, surgical, radiation, pediatric, and gynecological oncology. Cancer treatment is complex and requires a specialized team of doctors. Medical oncologists help their patients manage side effects and maintain their well-being, while surgical oncologists perform biopsies and remove cancerous tumors and surrounding tissue.
Radiation oncologists use radiation to shrink tumors or slow tumor growth without affecting neighboring tissues. Pediatric oncologists specialize in certain types of childhood cancers and conduct research on them. Depending on the type, stage, and location of the cancer, different oncologists may be needed for treatment. A medical oncologist is also the doctor the cancer patient will continue to see after treatment for long-term check-ups.
Becoming an oncologist is a five-year process that includes an internship in internal medicine followed by a residency in radiation oncology. The American College of Surgeons certifies cancer centers that meet a strict list of requirements through the Cancer Commission (CoC).The American Cancer Society offers programs and services to help people during and after cancer treatment. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be able to locate an oncologist who specializes in treating your specific type of cancer.