Hematology and Oncology

The medical profession is made up of a dozen specialties. While each individual specialty is a separate area, some, if not most, are closely related and often overlap simply because the body is a system, and an issue with one part may affect another part of the body. An ideal example of such specialties is  hematology and oncology. These two branches are two separate disciplines but also closely related and often intersect. Both are concerned with treating blood diseases and cancers, and a physician can choose to study and get certified in either or both fields.


Oncology is a branch of medicine that is concerned with diagnosing and treating different forms of cancers in the body. Cancer is caused by the reproduction of abnormal cells in the body. These abnormalities are commonly associated with tobacco and alcohol users, pollution, inherited defects in the DNA, or other poor lifestyles that can alter DNA in the cells.

There are three types of oncologists; Medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists. The responsibility of medical oncologists is to diagnose cancer and establish its type and the extent and then collaborate with the patient and other practitioners in coming up with the best treatment plan. Medical oncologists treat cancer through chemotherapy or drug therapies that stop the reproduction of cancer cells. surgical oncologists remove cancer tumors through surgery, which sometimes eliminates all cancerous cells preventing them from reproducing and spreading to other parts of the body. Radiation oncologists use radioactive substances such as gamma rays to destroy cancer cells hence inhibiting their reproduction.


Hematology in medicine is concerned with the prognosis and treatment of all diseases and conditions that affect the blood and other systems that have a direct connection to blood such lymph nodes and the bone marrow. Such diseases include leukemia, anemia, hemophilia, and other cancers of the blood. Hematologists treat such conditions by borrowing some drugs and therapies used in medical oncology. leukemia, for instance, is treated by administering chemotherapy or through surgical transplant of the bone marrow where the old faulty bone marrow producing cancerous cells is replaced with a healthy one.

Hematology and oncology overlap in several ways. Early stages of cancer might be detected in a routine blood test, which is more likely to be noticed by a hematologist. Chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer treatment plans may have a significant effect on the blood, and an oncologist can use the help of a hematologist to monitor the response of the patient towards treatment. A course in Hematology will always incorporate a few course units on oncology, and the reverse is also true.


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