What Is a Medical Oncologist?

Medical oncologists are trained in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The medical oncologists in our Cancer Center in Turlock, CA may become a patient’s main healthcare provider, giving supportive care and coordinating treatment from other specialists.

During your treatment, your medical oncologist will:

  • Diagnose and assess the cancer stage
  • Recommend and implement a treatment plan
  • Monitor your progress

Your oncologist may serve as your:

  • Counselor and advisor: They will explain your diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options to you and your family.
  • Physician and caregiver/coordinator: They will look after you regarding symptom management and coordinating other medical care. Some oncologists may initiate palliative care if needed.
  • Student and researcher: They will keep up to date with the latest treatments and be involved in testing them through clinical trials and medical research.
  • Manager: They may be part of a multi-disciplinary medical team to look after you.

What Questions Should I Ask My Medical Oncologist?

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, your healthcare team is the best source of answers to questions such as:

  • What kind of cancer do I have?
  • Where did it start? Has it spread?
  • What is the stage of my cancer, and what does it mean for me?
  • What tests do I have to take?
  • What do these tests aim to find? Who can explain the results to me?
  • What are my chances of survival?
  • Would you recommend I pursue genetic testing? How about molecular testing?

Here are some of the questions you can ask if your oncologist recommends treatment for you:

  • What treatments would you recommend I receive? What do they mean?
  • What risks do these treatments have?
  • How soon do I start treatment?
  • What will happen if I decide to delay getting treatment?
  • How long will my treatment be?
  • Where can I get these treatments?
  • Which doctors would I need to see during my treatment?
  • If I am referred for surgery, what other treatments do I need to undergo before or after?
  • What will be the next step if the treatment does not work?
  • What are the chances of my cancer coming back after treatment?
  • What are my insurance options for these treatments?
  • What can I do if I do not have enough money for the necessary treatments?

Before and during treatment:

  • What preparations do I need for my treatment?
  • What are my food restrictions?
  • What side effects should I anticipate?
  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • What special precautions do I need to take during my treatment?
  • Will I be able to exercise during treatment? If so, which exercises should I do?
  • Can you recommend me mental health programs or professionals that I can see if I start to feel anxious?

If you experience side effects or symptoms from your treatment or cancer:

  • What symptoms, side effects or signs should I be reporting?
  • What can I do to control these symptoms?
  • When should I call a doctor?

If your treatment is not working:

  • Why do you think the treatment is not working for me?
  • What other options do you have for me?
  • What are the chances that new treatments will work?
  • Where can I get a second opinion regarding my new treatment?
  • What will happen if I decide I do not want to get more treatment?

If you have finished cancer treatment:

  • Do I need other medicine or therapy after my treatment?
  • How often will I need to follow up or take tests about my health?
  • How long will it take before my side effects disappear?
  • What dietary, physical or other restrictions should I consider during recovery?
  • What should I watch to know if the cancer has come back?
  • What will be my next step if cancer comes back?
  • When should I call a doctor?

Comprehensive Cancer Care, Close to Home

Our medical oncologists are also experts in hematology, which means they can also diagnose and treat cancerous blood disorders. No two cancer cases are the same. Each patient needs to have treatments tailored for them for optimal treatment results. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, our hematology-oncology specialists are here to help.


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