It’s not uncommon for multiple branches of medical sciences to work with each other for patients’ welfare. After all, the body has a complex structure of cells, organs and systems which are interconnected to function together. Hematology and oncology are two of these branches which often work closely in many cases. That is why the director of marketing for the oncology, radiation oncology experts as well as other specialists in the field of cancer treatment often keep in touch with hematologists for better health care.
But what is hematology and oncology, to begin with? What are their core functions, and why do they need to work closely for patients’ welfare? These valuable questions are answered below.
Understanding Hematology and Oncology as well as their Functions
Hematology is the branch of medical science which circles on studying cause, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and prognosis of blood diseases. It treats ailments which affects the production of blood, as well as those which causes problems to the components of blood. Note that blood is made up of blood cells, blood protein and platelets among other components. Also, its production involves different organs in the body, notably the bone marrow and spleen, as well as its circulation involves organs such as blood vessels.
That gives the idea of hematology treating excessive blood clot and hemophilia among other disorders which affects blood flow. Moreover, it has roles in treating blood cancer, such as multiple myeloma, lymphoma and leukemia. Hematologists also work closely with medical laboratory scientists, since the latter perform blood tests directly from patients.
On the other hand, oncology is the medical science which studies causes, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and prognosis of cancer. They generally cover any cancer types, and has different specialists for more specified treatments. For example, Radiation Oncologists focuses on treating cancer with the use of radiation therapy.
They know what makes up cancer cells and tissues, as well as how to eradicate it from the body. However, they need to work with other experts who specialize with specific organs for better treatment. IN treating melanoma which is a skin cancer, for example, oncologists have to keep in touch with dermatologists for best results.
That is where the relationship between oncology and hematology begins.
Here’s how Hematology and Oncology Help Each Other
Now, keep in mind that blood is an essential part of the body. It delivers nutrients all over the body, and itself is also considered as an organ. Yes, blood can acquire cancer such as leukemia as well, but it also play some roles for other cancers in the body. This is where the relationship between hematology and oncology focuses.
- Blood Delivers Nutrients all over the Body
It’s important for cancer patients to receive the right nutrients and medications throughout the course of their treatment. Blood delivers such nutrients and minerals to specific spots, including to cancer cells and tissues. That is why an oncologist must knowhow blood can affect the growth or eradication of cancer cells and tumors, and a hematologist can help them do the job.
- Effects of Cancer and its Treatments to the Body
Cancer can spread to other body parts, and blood plays a major role on it. An oncologist wants to control such movement of cancer cells throughout the treatment to avoid affecting other organs.
Moreover, many medications and treatment procedures for cancer affects the blood and the body. Notable example is radiation therapy, which may cause adverse side effects when done without proper caution. So, an oncologist or a radiation oncologist needs to work with a hematologist to control the effects of the therapy. For example, hematology helps them in mapping the path of the therapy in the body, so it would hit cancer cells with high precision.
- Blood can Acquire Cancer as well
Once again, oncologists have to work with other specialists in treating cancer on certain organs in the body. So, when blood acquires cancer, they have to get in touch with hematologists for best treatment.
On the other hand, many irregularities in the blood may indicates cancer. These irregularities are detectable through blood laboratory tests. When a hematologist spot such irregularities in a patient’s blood, they will connect with an oncologist for further assessment. This is to confirm the presence of cancer, and to assist with further treatments when needed.
Where should you Go First?
Now, you’ve understood how hematology and oncology work together in treating cancer. Next thing to know is who to go first when you notice some irregularities in your body? The answer depends on your general physician.
When the physician notice the possibility of cancer on an organ other than your blood, they’d most likely connect with an oncologist for further assessment. Then, the oncologist will refer you to a hematologist who would assist them in the treatment. But if your physician notices a problem with your blood, whether a possibility of cancer or not, they’d refer you to a hematologist. The hematologist would determine whether you need an oncologist or not.
So, when you notice any uncertainties in your body or with a loved one’s health condition, consult your physician right away. They can connect you with the two specialists when needed, then you’ll see how these two works together for the welfare of patients.