Why Hematologist-Oncologists Are Important To Your Cancer Care

Why Hematologist-Oncologists Are Important To Your Cancer Care

Being referred to a hematologist can feel intimidating, especially if you don’t have a firm understanding of what these specialists do. Typically, if your primary care doctor has recommended that you see a hematologist, it’s because they detected an abnormality during a blood test. 

These abnormalities can range in seriousness, and most standard hematologist visits don’t result in a cancer diagnosis. Several health conditions related to abnormalities in your blood exist beyond cancer, such as anemia, hemophilia, and sepsis. 

However, more critical blood abnormalities can lead to blood cancers, such as lymphoma or leukemia. While hematologists deal with all blood disorders, hematologist-oncologists specifically address the cancers that affect your blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system.

Understanding Hematology-Oncology

At Alabama Cancer Care, we know that starting cancer care comes with many questions. Our team of health professionals wants to provide you with all the information you need about hematology-oncology and your cancer treatment options so you can be confident in the care that you are receiving from our team. 

Our multidisciplinary team of experts works together to deliver compassionate and comprehensive cancer care. Patients can expect the highly qualified leader of your Alabama Cancer Care team to be a kind and knowledgeable oncologist. 

What is a Hematologist-Oncologist?

While an oncologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats cancer, hematologists are doctors who specialize in disorders related to your blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system. Combining these two specialties, hematologist-oncologists offer significant expertise in treating many cancer types and blood problems. 

Hematologist-oncologists are highly qualified, with years of training. Hematologists first complete medical school before undertaking an internal medicine residency. After finishing residency, doctors need to complete a fellowship, during which they can specialize in hematology-oncology. Ultimately, the whole process of becoming a hematologist-oncologist can take more than 12 years.

What Does a Hematologist-Oncologist Do? 

Hematologist-oncologists diagnose and treat cancerous blood disorders and manage the symptoms of blood diseases, cancers, and (possible) tumors. These specialized doctors begin by running several tests to determine the cause of a blood abnormality and diagnose the root of the problem. 

If your blood abnormality is cancerous, there are many options for treatment. Surgery is not usually the primary course of treatment because cancers that affect your blood tend not to be site-specific.

Instead, hematologist-oncologists address these blood disorders using various methods, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, blood transfusion, or bone marrow transplants. Your specific treatment plan depends on your age, health, and medical history, the scope of the blood disease, as well as your tolerance for medications, procedures, and therapies.

When Do You Need a Hematologist-Oncologist? 

Ultimately, you need to visit a hematologist-oncologist when there is an abnormality in your blood.

Blood consists of four components: white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Each component plays an essential role in our overall health, such as bringing oxygen to our organs, defending us against infections, or forming clots to stop excessive bleeding. Your blood is of utmost importance, and when there is an abnormality present, it’s necessary to talk with a hematologist to identify and treat the problem correctly.

Whether you’re visiting a hematologist-oncologist in a large hospital or your friendly local cancer clinic, you can expect these specialized doctors to have a vast knowledge of blood disorders and appropriate treatment options. 

Alabama Cancer Care: Alabama’s Best Hematologist-Oncologists

Alabama Cancer Care provides patients with medical professionals with the expertise of those in a large hospital but in a welcoming, family environment. Our team of health professionals develops a highly individualized treatment plan designed so that each patient achieves the best possible outcome. We are always a phone call away, and we continually monitor your treatment plan’s progress to allow for prompt adjustments, as warranted. Our specialists meet weekly to discuss each of our patients, the status of their conditions, and any recommendations moving forward throughout your entire cancer treatment plan. We’re here for you, and we mean that.