An Overview of An Oncology Specialties
Oncology is a field of medical science that deals specifically with the treatment and prevention of cancer. An oncology specialist is typically an oncology doctor. The oncology speciality is derived from the Greek words, which translate literally to “cancer” and “group” or “struggle” (compare with other branches of dermatology such as allergy and paediatrics).
Today, many oncology specialities are opening up because of advances in medicine. As such, specialists are popping up left and right with cancer research. Surgical oncology focuses on treating diseases, disorders, and conditions using surgical procedures.
Surgical oncology can be broadly categorized into two fields: oncology surgery and cancer surgery. Basically, surgical oncology surgery deals specifically with cancers. Oncology cancer surgery deals primarily with malignant tumours, though it also deals with benign tumours that are not malignant.
Some surgical oncology specialist studies radiation therapy
Board-certified oncology specialists must meet and maintain specific standards set by the Medical Oncology Board. To obtain board certification, oncologists must successfully complete a 12-month residency program, the majority of which is located in a hospital or other medical setting.
After completion of the residency program, oncology specialists must successfully complete a national board-certified exam that is based on the current diagnostic procedures and outcomes in oncology. Basically, oncology focuses on treating malignancies that originate from the cancerous process, as well as non-cancerous tumours that occur within the body.
While all three main cancer types
- Hodgkin’s disease
Can be addressed through the use of surgical and non-surgical treatments, oncology specialists also focus their attention on dealing with other types of cancers. These include
- Cancers of the bone and muscular system
- Skin and connective tissue
- Stomach and oesophagal cancer
- Lung and Colorectal cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Kidney and liver cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Blood and lymph cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Throat cancer
Oncology specialists are also trained to deal with non-cancerous tumours that have arisen within the patient’s body, as well as symptoms of those cancers. Oncology focuses on four key areas of treatment
- Diagnosis and staging
The first two sections require pre-screening, which is the process of raising the alarm about an increased risk of cancer for an individual. Staging is focused on the identification, diagnosis and staging of cancers. Rehabilitation is the care of patients after surgery or other procedures, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Surgical oncology specialists perform different types of procedures that involve
The removal of diseased cells or tissues, either to remove them entirely or prevent them from multiplying. Some surgeries affect the spread of the cancer cells or tissues, while others attempt to kill the cancer cells on the outer membrane of the tumour. Cancerous growths are categorized into two groups
- Those that grow below the skin’s surface
- Those that grow through the skin and into the bloodstream
Surgical oncologists also perform imaging tests to detect these two types of growths, as well as to spot any lumps or swelling that may be indicative of a possible internal problem. A chest x-ray may be ordered to check for abnormalities on the lung’s lining, while an abdominal ultrasound is used to view the abdomen and nearby organs.
Doctors who specialize in oncology are often at the forefront of cancer research
They are responsible for finding methods of treating various types of cancers. Surgical oncology involves several subspecialties, including Mohs surgery or mammography, as well as surgery, radiation oncology, histology and stem cell transplantation.
In Mohs surgery, surgeons remove tumours via surgical methods. This subspecialty involves the use of various surgical techniques and radiation to help control the spread of the disease. Radiation oncology specialities are responsible for using diagnostic equipment to examine tumours and treat cancerous cells with radiation.
In contrast to chemotherapy, this treatment does not employ drugs to directly combat cancer but destroys abnormal cells by introducing chemicals into the body. These methods are highly effective but can be harmful to healthy cells if they overdose. Doctors who specialize in oncology specialities are trained to administer both methods safely and efficiently.
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