Hematologists work with blood-related conditions, including several types of cancer. They use a variety of tests and treatments for these issues.
Many hematologists also receive training in oncology, which is the branch of medicine dedicated to diagnosing and treating cancer.
This article will look at hematology, what hematologists do, and how their work relates to oncology.
What is hematology?
Hematology is the study of blood concerning health and disease.
Blood plays essential roles in human health, including:
Problems with the blood can affect several of the body’s systems, such as the lymphatic system, a network of tissues and organs that clear waste.
Blood disorders sometimes stem from problems with the bone marrow, where the body makes most of its blood cells.
Hematology aims to understand how these problems occur, how they affect a person’s health, and how to treat them.
What do hematologists do?
Hematologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating problems with the blood and related structures, such as the bone marrow.
Tests and procedures that a hematologist may perform include:
A hematologist might have one of the following specialties.
Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body. Hemoglobinopathy is the studyTrusted Source of abnormal hemoglobin.
These abnormalities may indicate sickle cell disease, thalassemia, or other disorders. Each may cause episodes of pain.
This area of hematology focuses on diagnosing and treating blood cancers, such as myeloma.
Blood cancers start in the cells of the immune system or tissues that make blood cells, such as bone marrow.
Anemias are conditions that lead to low levels of trusted sources of hemoglobin or red blood cells in the body.
Having anemia prevents enough oxygen-rich blood from circulating in the body. As a result, a person may feel unusually tired and experience muscle weakness.
Coagulopathy refers to disordered bleeding; it reflects the body’s ability to form blood clots.
Blood disorders, such as hemophilia, are forms of coagulopathy. They make it difficult for the body to control bleeding.
How does it relate to oncology?
It is common for hematologists to also train in oncology, which is the study, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. The combined training allows these doctors to treat a range of blood-related illnesses, including some cancers.
A person with blood cancer, such as leukemia or myeloma, may see an oncologist and hematologist separately, or they may see a doctor with training in both fields.
Not everyone who receives a referral to an oncologist has cancer. Many oncologists train in hematology and see people with blood conditions that are not cancerous.