Purpose and Mission
Oncologists are doctors who specialize in evaluating and treating patients stricken with cancer. They often work closely with other doctors, nurses, lab technicians and other health professionals involved in patient care. Oncologists discuss symptoms with patients and monitor them for signs of cancer. Key responsibilities of oncologists include requesting and analyzing test results, discussing various treatment options and tracking the progress of patients during treatment and therapy.
Most oncologists choose to work as part of a private practice. This means that they are typically employed as private contractors and may not report directly to any individual. All physicians are, however, general supervision of the management board of their practice and/or the medical committee of any hospital where they have privileges.
Oncologists with several years of experience may have notable supervisory responsibilities, especially working with interns/residents and/or serving on the board of his/her practice. Less-experienced oncologists may have relatively few supervisory responsibilities.
All doctors, including oncologists, have earned a bachelor’s degree and also graduated from medical school. Oncologists typically complete a three or four year internal medicine residency after medical school, then at least another couple of years in an oncology fellowship learning the ropes under the supervision of experienced specialists.
Earning a certification in oncology requires applying to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for a fellowship in the specialty. It takes at least two years of additional training after your residency to earn an RACP fellowship in oncology.
Responsibilities of an Oncologist
Oncologists are physicians who manage patients with cancer. These healthcare professionals are trained to diagnose and assess the development of cancer, and to recommend and implement various treatment plans as well as monitor progress.
Medical oncologists focus mainly on chemotherapy, nutrition-based therapies and the emerging field of genetic therapies for cancer.
Radiation oncologists are specialists in using radiation therapy to both treat and manage cancer. Like other oncologists, these physicians diagnose and assess patients with cancer and work with other healthcare providers to plan a course of treatment. Depending on the cancer and location, the goal may be to completely eradicate the tum remove the tumor, or if that is not possible, then to minimize the pain and improve a patient’s quality of life. Their primary responsibility is to determine the most suitable dosage of radiation for a specific patient and whether to apply high energy X-rays, electron beams or gamma rays.