Branches of oncology include medical, pediatric, surgical, radiation and gynecological. Medical and pediatric oncologists may specialize further by studying hematology, or the growth of tumors in the blood.
In addition to graduating from medical school, oncologists must complete a residency program endorsed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and pass a medical board exam.
How to Find an Oncologist
Locate a board-approved oncologist at the National Cancer Institute or Cancer Net (see Resources). Both groups advocate seeking a second opinion before undergoing a treatment plan.
According to The American Society of Clinical Oncology, the demand for oncologists is likely to increase 48 percent between 2005 and 2020, which could lead to a shortage of physicians.
Oncology Times proposes that an ideal doctor will demonstrate competence, compassion, consideration and a caring nature. It advocates a calm, yet candid, approach to patient care.
An oncologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer patients. Due to the complexity of devising the ideal course of treatment, oncologists often work closely with nutritionists, nurses and social workers to combat cancer.