Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in various parts of the world. With this, an oncologist plays a vital role for the early detection of cancer cells so as to prevent further metastasis.
What is an oncologist?
Oncologists are physicians who specialize in studying any types of cancer. They are responsible in diagnosing and treating cancer with a common goal in managing symptoms or curing patients if it can still be treated. There are various fields in medicine. An oncologist focuses on curing patients with chemotherapy drugs, pain medications or replacement hormones.
Duties of an oncologist
- Medical oncologists are responsible in ordering several diagnostic testing which includes biopsy, imaging procedures and blood test so as to achieve a specific diagnosis. An oncologist reviews test results and determine the stage as well as the type of cancer that takes place. They provide patient with detailed information regarding cancer, the prognosis of the disease and possible interventions or treatment options that the patient may undergo. Oncologists are encouraged to possess good skills in order to deliver life-changing information in an appropriate and best manner as possible.
- Medical oncologists also monitor patients starting from their diagnosis until the entire process of treatment. They are responsible in developing treatment plans according to a great number of factors which covers the nature and type of cancer as well as the patient’s preferences. As part of the monitoring process, an oncologist frequently orders diagnostic test in order to know whether the patient is progressing or if the treatment is effective or not.
- Oncologists’ help in making their patients feel comfortable through treating their pain and managing any side-effects of the chemotherapy given.
Conditions of work
The oncologist’s work environment is well-lit and properly ventilated. Their job predisposes them to different stress levels. Similar with other physicians in specialty areas, an oncologist may be employed at hospitals, health centers, clinics or private practices. They also work in flexible hours and are mostly required working on long hours with an emotionally intense and draining job.
In order to become an oncologist, candidates are required to purse a medicine degree from any 4 year accredited medical school. There are some medical oncologist who takes pre-med courses like organic chemistry and biology. Medical students are required to take an admission test from their chosen medical college and pursue a residency program for about 2 years.
Occupation and Progress
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states, physicians having a medical specialty earn a median wage of about $339,738 on 2008. As of July 2010, medical oncologists mostly earn an average salary between $129,253 and $255,318 per annum.