What is an oncologist?
Oncologists are usually specialists in internal medicine who have focused on tumour diseases (cancers) and in particular on malignant tumours. As tumours can occur anywhere in the body, oncologists work closely with doctors from other disciplines.
As specialists in internal medicine, oncologists also specialise in haematology, i.e. diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs.
What do oncologists do?
All types of cancer are treated in oncology. Oncologists provide diagnostics, therapy and aftercare for cancer, but also preventive measures.
These are the most common types of cancer treater by oncologists
- Breast cancer:
Breast cancer (mammary carcinoma) is a tumour in the female breast. Very rarely, men can also get breast cancer.
- Prostate cancer:
The most common type of cancer in men is prostate cancer (growth in the prostate gland).
- Bowel cancer:
Bowel cancer can occur in all sections of the bowel, often affecting the colon or rectum.
- Lung cancer:
Malignant tumours of the lung usually develop in the bronchial tissue. Lung cancer mostly affects heavy smokers.
- Skin cancer:
Malignant changes in the skin are usually easy to recognise. This means that skin cancer is easy to diagnose and treatable at an early stage with regular screening.
Removal of the lymph nodes
Oncologists or surgeons sometimes remove lymph nodes to check unclear lymph node swellings and to prevent the spread of cancer. An example of this is the removal of the axillary lymph nodes as part of breast cancer therapy.
Lymphoedema after breast cancer
Removing lymph nodes from the armpit area can disrupt lymphatic drainage, resulting in what is called secondary lymphoedema in the arm. If this is the case, then there should be close interaction with a lymphologist . They will then start what is known as Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT) to treat the condition..
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Health personnel will make the diagnosis and can prescribe medical aids, e.g. from medi if necessary.
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