What do Oncologists do?
Finding the right doctor that practices Oncology in Birmingham, Michigan will be key to treating cancers of the body.
Before treating the cancer, the oncologist performs research and tests to determine what type (or subtype) of cancer a person has. The oncologist helps to relieve the symptoms caused by the cancer. The oncologist may also serve as the patient’s primary care physician during cancer treatment.
Besides the nurses and other staff at the oncology office, an oncologist works with a team of specialists to treat or cure the cancer. These specialists vary depending on what type of cancer is being treated. Some examples include (but are not limited to):
- Genetic counselors
- Radiation oncologists
- Specialized surgeons
The oncologist consults extensively with the other doctors to determine what type of treatment will result in the best outcome for you. Although you might receive treatment from any of the doctors on your cancer team, your oncologist is the “quarterback” who coordinates the treatment.
What Type of education does an oncologist have?
To become an oncologist, a person must complete several levels of education:
- Undergraduate school (pre-med), 4 years
- Medical school, 4 years
- Residency, 3 – 7 years
After this, the physician pursues further education in an oncology specialty and/or sub-specialty.
Some oncology specialties and subspecialties include:
- Gynecological oncology (subspecialty)
- Medical oncology
- Medical oncology and hematology (subspecialty)
- Pediatric oncology and hematology (subspecialty)
- Radiation oncology
- Surgical oncology
This additional education includes an oncology fellowship to provide training in diagnosing and treating cancer, and it can take another few years to complete this education. During the fellowship, the physician may focus on research, methodology, becoming an educator, or patient care.
After completing the fellowship, the physician can apply for certification and pass an exam that is administered by a medical board. The physician must apply and pass an exam for each specialty or subspecialty.
As of 2016, there were about 12,100 physicians specializing in hematology and medical oncology treating patients across the United States.
Below, are directions from Birmingham to our Lake Orion office.