Cancer Doubts .com
  Information for patients researching their options

Learn about cancer and
Talk to your doctor with confidence

  Cancer information  

 
         
 Contents
01 What is cancer?
02 Cancer symptoms and screening (how cancer is detected)
03 Causes of cancer
04 Can cancer be prevented?
05 Cancer Stages
(how long do patients live?)
06 Cancer treatment and therapy (how cancer is treated)
07 Types of doctors who treat cancer
08 Choosing a doctor (or getting a second opinion)
09 Preparing for Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
10 Cancer support (patient psychology and feelings)
11 Cancer suport - How friends can help
12 Is it important to do my own research? (or do I just follow doctor's orders)
13 Cancer information (research your treatment options)
14 Alternative and complementary treatments for cancer
15 Avoiding dubious treatments
16 How medical research is done (how to read medical research papers)
A About this site
 

Types of doctors who treat cancer

Doctors who specialize in treating cancers are known as oncologists. Oncologists are familiar with the characteristics of different cancers, and will have an opinion on how best to treat each cancer. Oncologists will be familiar with the different ways to treat cancers, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. However, most oncologists are internal medicine specialists and do not operate on patients. If surgery is required, the oncologist may refer the patient to either a surgeon, or a surgical oncologist (a surgeon who specializes in tumor removal).

Surgeons often specialize in operating on specific organs. Some surgeons specialize in operations of the lung, others on the colon and so on. It is thought that surgeons who repeatedly operate on the same organ become much better at it, so specialization does improve the outcome for patients. Surgeons refer to the process of removing tumors as a "resection", so removing a tumor from a lung may be referred to as performing a lung resection.

If radiotherapy is required, a patient may be referred to a radiation oncologist. Radiation oncologists specialize in using radiation to treat cancer. Because modern radiotherapies are becoming increasingly complicated, radiation oncologists are a specialization that is becoming increasingly important. Radiation oncologists will be familiar with the different radiation therapies available, and how best to deliver radiation while causing the least side effects.

Patients may also encounter diagnostic radiologists if they undergo diagnostic imaging procedures such as a CT scan or an MRI scan. It is a common misconception that such scanning technologies produce "clear and unambiguous" diagnoses of cancer. In reality, such scanning technologies produce thousands of images which a doctor familiar with scanning technologies (i.e. the diagnostic radiologist) needs to interpret. They need to determine if spots or gray areas that appear in scans are tumors, or other normal body artifacts like cysts, or if they are just normal for that particular scanning technology. Much of this interpretation is a judgment call, and good diagnostic radiologists will be instrumental in monitoring cancers.

Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy may also be referred to a nutritionist. During cancer treatment, it is important for the patient to maintain a healthy diet so that the body can function properly. Some chemotherapies can damage the body and weaken it, so it is important that the body continue to receive good nutrition. Chemotherapy can also make it difficult for patients to swallow food because of mouth ulcers and dry throats. A nutritionist may be able to suggest easier to swallow foods, like fruit smoothies, which can provide the needed nutrition. Nutritionists may also recommend multivitamins or other supplements to keep a healthy body. During cancer treatment it is also important that the patient maintain a healthy weight, and not succumb to cachexia (the wasting away of the muscles and becoming very thin). Nutritionists can also suggest diets to help minimize this risk.

Oncology nurses also play an integral role in patient care. They often have practical know-how to make patients more comfortable during their treatment. They can also provide useful tips to caring for the patient, and tell caregivers what problems to watch out for.

 

 


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Medical information for cancer I am not a medical professional; please consult your doctor for a medical opinion. This is my attempt to explain cancer to anyone who is affected by it. If this site helps just one person, then it will have served its purpose.

 

 
 Cancer Links
Prominent research and treatment centers
Stanford Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Kimmel Center at Johns Hopkins
Dana-Farber/Harvard
Mayo Clinic
 
Information on Drugs
Drugs at FDA
NCI Drug Info
 
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Information
Sloan Kettering
(Integrative Medicine Service)
Medline Plus
American Cancer Society
PDR (Herbals and Supplements)
 
Complementary Medicine and Supplement Suppliers
Cuesta Agaricus Mushrooms
Agaricus Farm Mushrooms
Mitobi Mushrooms
Freshes Mushrooms [Bulk]
AllStarHealth [Maitake D-Fraction]
Maitake Products [D-Fraction]
LifeStream [BRM 360 capsules]
Himalaya Herbals [Ashwagandha]
Vita Green [Yun Zhi extract]
 
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials (NIH)
 
Research Papers
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Google Scholar
 
New Drug Approvals / Drugs in the pipeline
FDA approvals
 
Helpful Books and Sites
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy survival guide
Cancer Guide.org
The biology of cancer
 
Patient Stories
Andrew Grove
Steve Dunn

 


 

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Site Copyright © 2008 Wei-lung Wang. Top banner images from the Wikimedia Commons, and used under the terms of the GNU General Public License.