Oncologists are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. If you are interested in becoming an oncologist, there are several different types of oncology you could practice within this medical field.
Oncology can be an extremely rewarding career, both intrinsically and financially, as oncologists often earn in the highest physician compensation range. However, oncology can be a very trying field, often dealing with very sick patients.
Most oncologists, with the exception of surgeons, train as internists, completing a residency in internal medicine, and then complete a fellowship in oncology.
Medical oncologists are one of the most common types of oncologists. They specialize in the treatment of solid tumors, usually with chemotherapy or via referral to a surgeon for removal of the tumor.
Hematologist - Oncologist:
A hematology/oncology physician specializes in treating malignancies (cancers) and disorders of the blood, such as leukemia, sickle cell anemia, etc. Most oncology fellowships include some training in both medical oncology and hematology, so physicians may practice a combination of the two, or specialize heavily in one or the other.
Hematologists often work closely with a Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Center, as bone marrow transplant is a common treatment for many hematological issues.
A radiation oncologist is similar to a medical oncologist, but specializes in treating cancers with radiation.
A surgical oncologist is a surgeon who specializes in the surgical removal of cancerous tumors. Surgical oncologists do not train as an internist, like most other oncologists. A surgical oncologist is a general surgeon who does additional training in oncology and removal of tumors.
A Gyn/Onc specializes in diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive system, including ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and more. Gynecological oncologists are doctors who trained in OB/Gyn and then choose to sub-specialize in oncology, by completing additional fellowship training.
A pediatric oncologist is a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancers in children 18 years of age and younger.