All You Need To Know About Medical Oncologist

Cancer cases have been on the rise in the recent past. The disease has also seen the need for a medical oncologist in hospitals and specialized treatment clinics.

Who is a medical oncologist?

A medical oncologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer. A medical oncologist helps patients understand the diseases and the treatment journey ahead.

A medical oncologist works with other doctors to plan a patient’s treatment intervention depending on the type of cancer one is battling. The doctors explain the cancer type, stage, and treatment regimen. The oncologist also helps one manage cancer symptoms and the side effects of the various treatment plans. Some of the treatment plans used in managing cancer include; chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy.

When does a patient need the services of a medical oncologist?

A patient is scheduled to see a medical oncologist immediately if cancer diagnosis tests positive. A meeting with a medical oncologist is typically the first step of a patient’s recovery and management journey.

The medical oncologist explains the implication of the disease and the treatment timelines. He also answers any questions a patient may have about treatment intervention.

Cancer affects different parts of the body. A  patient may often see a particular medical oncologist depending on the body part affected by the disease.

Typically, there are three types of oncologist, namely;

       A medical oncologist– a medical oncologist treats cancer using immunotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy. 

       A radiation oncologist- a radiation oncologist treat cancer using radiation 

       A surgical oncologist- a surgical oncologist removes tumors using surgery intervention. The surgical oncologist performs a biopsy and removes a tiny bit of tissue for testing procedures.

 Other types of cancer specialists include 

       Gynecologic oncologist– this doctor specializes in cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancer. 

       Hematologist oncologist- deals with blood-related cancers like leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma. 

       Pediatric oncologist- specializes in cancer issues in children. 

What are the qualifications of a medical oncologist? 

A medical oncologist is a profession that takes effort and consistency in medical school. One must first join a medical school for four years. The four years include two years of study in a classroom setup and two other years practicing in a hospital facility. 

The following 2 to 5 years include residency during which the student undergoes special training in the discipline of choice. Successful completion of residency and specialization earns one a license and certificate to practice medical oncology. 

How can a patient choose the most appropriate medical oncologist? 

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you need to start your treatment regimen immediately. First, talk to your doctor and ask them about the next course of action. 

You can also visit any hospital that treats cancer patients. Such a hospital has specialists and medical professionals who can help you begin your treatment. You can also find out if a specific medical oncologist has worked with other patients with similar conditions like yours. 

You can also talk to friends, colleagues, and family members who have had cancer. They can help connect you to their doctors and help you through your journey. 

Talk to your medical oncologist about their professional experience and practice. Learning that your doctor has been through successful medical training boosts your confidence as they treat you. 

Ask them if they allow patients to call them outside the hospital and over weekends and holidays. If they do, request  their contact address or permission to talk to them when needed. 

Meet the medical oncologist and the assistant professionals he’ll be working with during your treatment. Meeting the medical professionals helps you learn their readiness to help you procure treatment. 

How should a patient prepare for cancer treatment? 

1.                Carry all the medical records on your first visit to the medical oncologist. Some of the records include X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. If you have been on any medication, carry them. They help the doctor know where to start your treatment. 

2.                Do not go alone, have a family member or an assistant for your treatment. The friend can help you take notes and ask relevant questions to help you in the treatment. They’re also critical in giving your moral support. 

3.                Prepare a list of questions you’d like the oncologist to answer. For instance, you may ask; 

       When is the treatment supposed to begin?

       What treatment options are available for you?

       What are the possible side effects and risks involved in the treatment procedure?

       How will the treatment plan affect your routine and life in the future? 

 What to expect on your first appointment

 A cancer patient’s first appointment can last for hours. The doctor goes through your imaging tests of the medication procedure you’ve been using in the past. The doctor also studies the patient’s medical history. 

Expect a physical examination to help the doctor make a detailed medical report. The doctor can also pick any sign that the initial examination missed. The doctor may also request new tests or take blood, urine, and stool samples for further laboratory tests. 

A medical oncologist is a cancer specialist. He’s a qualified medical personnel to diagnose and treat cancer patients. 

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