Chemotherapy is a very delicate and complicated procedure. This is because it also has the ability to cause further complications in a person’s health while it is being used to treat another medical condition. Chemotherapy usually has side effects that can be very severe.
Therefore it requires well trained professionals who will be able to handle it with expertise to ensure that it brings about more advantages than disadvantages to the host. The professional doctors who administer chemotherapy are the specialists who treat cancer.
Treatment of cancer mostly involves a team of specialists who may vary according to the type of cancer. When it comes to chemotherapy it is mostly done by special doctors known as oncologists. Oncologists are the doctors who oversee everything concerning your care and treatment once you are diagnosed with a tumor.
Oncologists who have specialized in chemotherapy are known as medical oncologists.
Duties of the Medical Oncologist
- A medical oncologist’s primary duty may be to administer chemotherapy but they can also carry out other tasks in the road to help treat the cancer.
- The medical oncologist may be the one to oversee your treatment. If this is so, then it means they will have to check the progress of your treatment and make sure everything goes well as planned.
- They may also be tasked with the duty of explaining the details about your cancer diagnosis. This will include details such as the stage and type of cancer that you have.
- Another role that a medical oncologist may perform is explaining about the various medical treatment options that are available to you, their side effects and recommending the most suitable one to be undertaken.
- Finally, the medical oncologist may be tasked with helping you deal with the side effects that may be as a result of the chemotherapy drugs that are taken.
What Should you Look for in a Medical Oncologist?
- Availability- When picking out an oncologist to give you chemotherapy, ensure to pick one who will always be there to give you the required medical care at any given time.
- Experience- Medical oncologists who have dealt with many patients will have more experience and hence they will be more likely to deliver high quality services. Try to seek out a medical oncologist who will make you feel safe in his/her hands.
- Training- Sometimes it can be wise to find out the kind of training that your medical oncologist has before letting him/her administer the chemotherapy to you. This may help you in deciding whether he/she is well trained and equipped to do it.
- Certified medical oncologists- In most countries there are boards that certify doctors and this may include boards that certify medical oncologists. Always check to see if your medical oncologist is certified. Certified doctors mean that they are well trained and well experienced to carry out their tasks.
- Openness- This is one of the top things you should be looking in a medical oncologist. It is extremely important that you are handled by a doctor who makes you feel comfortable and answers your questions fully.
How do Medical Oncologists Pick the Type of Chemotherapy Drugs to be Used During the Treatment?
The choice of the medication used in treating your cancer is based on several factors. Some of the factors that may help a medical oncologist decide on which chemotherapy drugs to administer may include the following:
- How far the cancer has spread- There are different drugs available for different cancers depending on how much they have affected an organ and the surrounding area. This may also determine the way the drugs are administered.
- The stage of the cancer- Different stages of cancer will require different types of drugs. Some stages may also need to be treated using a combination of drugs and not just a single type of chemo drug.
- The health history of a patient- Medical oncologists will need to know your medical history to check if you had complications before that may not allow some types of drugs to be used.
- Your age
- Other medical treatments- If you are also undergoing other treatments for your cancer such as radiotherapy then a combination of drugs may be given to provide the best treatment.
How does a Medical Oncologist Administer Chemotherapy?
There are various ways in which medical oncologists may decide to administer chemotherapy. These may include the following:
- Through pills or capsules- The pills or capsules when swallowed will get absorbed into the body.
- In the form of injection or shots- Chemotherapy can also be administered through injections. This can include intravenous injections where the drug is directly injected into a vein.
- Applying of creams- If you have a form of skin cancer, the medical oncologist may prefer to give you chemotherapy creams which must be applied on the skin to get better.
- Administering the chemotherapy drugs directly on the tumor- This is one way to combine with the surgery. The medical oncologist may place thin wafers close to the affected cancer cells and they will release the chemo drugs with time slowly destroying the cancer cells.
The Bottom Line
Although medical oncologists are doctors specialized in dealing with chemotherapy, it should be noted that they are not the only ones who can provide chemotherapy. Other oncologists may also be trained in administering chemotherapy.
There are also other doctors who may oversee your treatment and not necessarily medical oncologists. What is more important is that you receive the best medical care from your doctors.