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The Types Of Oncologists


An oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating people with cancer. As a general matter, there are three types of clinical oncologists:

  • Medical oncologists specialize in treating cancer with drugs (chemotherapy). Medical oncologists usually act like a primary care doctor by recommending treatment such as surgery and/or radiation in addition to chemotherapy treatment.
  • Surgical oncologists specialize in treatment of cancer by surgery, as well as all surgical aspects relating to diagnosis. For example, surgical oncologists do biopsys. (A biopsy is a small amount of tissue which is examined under a microscope).
  • Radiation oncologists specialize in treating cancer by use of radiation. The radiation is used to destroy cancer cells.

There are also more specialized oncologists. For instance:

  • Gynecologic oncologists are medical oncologists who specialize in the treatment of women with gynelogical cancers such as cervical and uterine cancers.
  • Pediatric oncologists specialize in the treatment of children with cancer. Medical oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists.

All of the above oncologists are broadly known as "clinical oncologists" because they treat patients. Research oncologists conduct cancer research.  Some oncologists  both treat patients and do research.

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