Medical oncologists are physicians who have expertise in treating cancer patients with chemotherapy. These physicians commonly work closely with various specialties, including surgeons, radiation oncologists, primary care physicians, and other supporting services to coordinate the overall care of our cancer patients.
Due to tremendous advances in chemotherapy during the recent years, many cancers have become curable, especially when combined with surgery and radiation therapy. Potentially curable cancers include but not limited to germ cell tumor, Hodgkin's disease, certain types of lymphoma and leukemia, osteosarcoma, breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, ovarian cancer, and small cell lung cancer. At the same time, supportive care for cancer patients has also become much better. Consequently, the side effects of chemotherapy are usually very manageable. Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting has become an uncommon event. The need for hospital admission has declined. Many of our patients maintain a full work schedule while receiving chemotherapy.
Some of our patients are less fortunate and present with incurable diseases. Our goal then would be directed toward maintaining quality of life. Chemotherapy and other supportive measures are frequently used to relieve or prevent cancer related symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, weight loss, depression, activity level, and other aspects of quality of life. We do make a difference in our patients' life. Taking care of the terminally ill is an important duty.
The field of cancer medicine is constantly changing. New chemotherapeutic agents are being developed and our knowledge of optimal integration of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery is evolving. We are determined to make an even greater improvement in survival and quality of life for our cancer patients.