Who is a medical oncologist?
A medical oncologist is an expert in treating cancer with chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and immunotherapy. For many cancer patients, a medical oncologist may be the first cancer specialist that they consult after surgery and is frequently the primary physician who coordinates the cancer treatment plan. Medical oncologists usually work in conjunction with other specialists, such as surgeons and radiation oncologists, to create an integrated treatment program that includes surgical removal of the tumor, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy and other drugs. In addition to prescribing the drugs, medical oncologists will also monitor your progress during and after treatment and assist in symptom and pain management. As they coordinate the treatment team, the medical oncologist will make sure that your treatment is as seamless and stress-free as possible.
What can you expect when visiting a medical oncologist?
During your first appointment, your Medical Oncologist will:
- Review your results from any tests or biopsies, including your blood work
- Discuss your family history of cancer
- Explain the personalized treatment plan he/ she would recommend for your type of cancer, including the option for clinical trials.
- Arrange for other tests and procedures as indicated.
Please be sure to bring a list of all medications you take, including those prescribed by physicians and those you buy over the counter. This should include any vitamins or herbal products you take.
The medication list should indicate the following information:
- Names of each medicine
- Doses you are taking
- Frequency you take the medication
The medical oncologist will also review your diagnostic tests, including X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, bone scans, stress tests, echocardiograms and electrocardiograms. To obtain the results of imaging tests, contact the hospital or radiology center where the images were taken and request the images and a written report. The medical oncologist may also request any pathology slides from prior biopsies or surgical procedures. If you had a biopsy or surgery at another facility, please contact that office to request pathology slides and a copy of the written report.