The primary responsibility of an oncologist is diagnosing and curing cancer. This is something that they have spent a lot of time studying. Therefore, they know how to analyze the signs and behaviors of cancer so that they will be able to suggest an appropriate treatment. Their observations are also used in medical research that is being done by other oncologists.
It is important for an oncologist to be a people person because they will be dealing with patients who are distressed. Some patients may not even want to admit that they have cancer. For this reason an oncologist must know how to break this news to the patient and their loved ones. Also, if the type of cancer is hereditary, then the oncologist must also talk to several different family members. As such, the oncologist must be able to use tact and discretion while still being open to the patient. Of course, everyone has their own personality and this is true of oncologists as well.
As can be clearly seen, an oncologist will need to act as a therapist sometimes. It is up to them to decide what type of treatment is right for their patient. This may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiology. There are also hormonal and antibody-based treatments that are used sometimes. These treatments have come about because of the work and research that oncologists have done.
Once a treatment is selected, the oncologist must then monitor their patient’s health. This is an important part of determining whether or not the treatment has been effective. Whenever a treatment doesn’t work, then the oncologist may need to change the treatment. Since many of these treatments also have side effects, the oncologist will also need to monitor these as well because whenever the treatment makes a patients health worse a change in treatment may be needed.
Another one of the many tasks that an oncologist is responsible for is palliative care. This is necessary whenever the cancer cannot be cured and thus the only thing that can be done is make the last days of a patient’s life as good as possible. Included here is managing symptoms (this includes nausea, pain, fatigue, anorexia, weakness, depression and other emotional conditions) while also taking care of both moral and spiritual issues. At this point the oncologist may also become a spiritual guide and may also give you moral support as well.
The final thing that oncologists are responsible for are ethical issues. This is because there are a lot of recurring dilemmas in regards to just how much information that they give to their patient, whether or not to tell their patients about clinical trials, when to stop any active treatments and any issues that come at the end of a person’s life.