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John Kang | WebMD | 3 Major Types of Oncologists

John Kang | WebMD | 3 Major Types of Oncologists

John Kang, your WebMD guide, briefly talks about the different types of oncologists that make up a cancer treatment team. Not all of them will be needed for every patient and treatment, says Mr. Kang; it all depends on the type of cancer, the stage, and the treatment plan. In general, however, a patient will need one type of oncologist to be with him or her throughout the treatment plan, and well after that.

Below is an overview of the different types of oncologists and what they do as shared by John Kang, your WebMD guide: Image Source: Dr. Sircus

1. Medical oncologist

When a family doctor, general practitioner or a specialist suspects that a patient’s symptoms may be linked to a certain type of cancer, several tests will be required. If these tests, which are usually imaging tests, reveal results that show the doctor’s suspicions may be correct, the patient will be referred to a medical oncologist. A medical oncologist is a cancer specialist trained to treat cancer patients through chemotherapy or other forms of treatments and medications, as deemed necessary, shares John Kang, WebMD guide.

The medical oncologist may seek the opinion of other oncologists to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Patients may also seek a second opinion from another oncologist.

2. Surgical oncologist

The special area of expertise of a surgical oncologist is the removal of cancerous tumors or tissues. John Kang, your WebMD guide shares further;

“A surgical oncologist is a cancer specialist who is generally called in to perform a biopsy and subsequently diagnose the biopsy; whether or not it is malignant.”

In general, a surgical oncologist is not trained in internal medicine unlike other oncologists, but rather, they are surgeons who undergo training in the field of oncology.

3. Radiation oncologist

Last but not the least is the radiation oncologist. This type of oncologist, says John Kang, WebMD guide, is trained in much the same way as a medical oncologist. The only difference is that with a radiation oncologist, their treatment specialization is radiation therapy.

There are other types of oncologists, shares John Kang, your WebMD guide, but the three mentioned above are generally the most common oncologists on a patient’s cancer treatment team. These other types are:

  • Hematologist – Oncologist – specializes in blood-related cancers like leukemia and lymphoma
  • Gynecological Oncologist – specializes in cancers of the female reproductive system like cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer
  • Pediatric Oncologist – specializes in diagnosis and treatment of cancers in patients who are 18 years old and below

In general, the oncologist will lead the medical team of a patient; overseeing their care and treatment, and even providing support and guidance not only to the patient but to their family as well. You could say that in a roundabout way, the oncologist becomes the patient’s lifeline.

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