An oncologist is a physician who works in the field of oncology, the branch of medicine that deals with cancer. There are three main types of oncologists that can help you if you have been diagnosed with cancer:
- Surgical Oncologist: This oncologist uses surgery to remove the cancer cells in your body.
- Medical Oncologist: This oncologist uses chemotherapy (drugs) to rid your body of cancer cells.
- Radiation Oncologist: This oncologist uses proton beams to destroy your cancer cells.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you can be treated by one or all three of these oncologists, depending upon the type of cancer that you have and where it is located. Here are some questions that you can ask your oncologists about your cancer diagnosis and their recommendations for treatment:
What Is Your Cancer Diagnosis? Ask your oncologists to specify the kind of cancer that you have and to specify where it is located in your body. Ask to see your x-rays and MRI images. Ask your oncologists to estimate how long you have had these cancer cells in your body and if they have spread to other places in your body. The more informed you are about your particular cancer diagnosis, the more you can understand your cancer treatments and your chances of survival.
What Treatments Are Recommended? Ask your oncologists for their treatment recommendations. Should you have surgery to eliminate the cancer cells in your body? Ask your oncologists if chemotherapy could be used instead of, or in addition to, surgery. If you undergo surgery, will you also be given radiation treatments? What are the consequences of having radiation treatments? If you have surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, will you also be given other medications? If yes, how long must you take these medications and can they effectively keep your cancer cells from returning?
Are There Any Alternative Treatments and Therapies? Ask your oncologists if there are any non-invasive treatments that may be effective on your cancer cells. Also, ask if there are any physical therapies that can help to eliminate cancer cells in your body, or can help to heal your body after surgical, medical, and radiation treatments.
What Are Your Chances of Survival? Ask your oncologists to estimate your chances of survival if you treat or do not treat your cancer.
Every person reacts differently to cancer cells and cancer treatments. Your oncologists will customize their treatments for your specific cancer diagnosis. With meticulous diagnoses and diligent cancer treatments, you will have a very good chance of eliminating the cancer cells in your body.