What Can An Orthopedic Oncologist Do? Orthopedic Oncologists Guide 2021

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What Can An Orthopedic Oncologist Do? Orthopedic Oncologists Guide 2021

Bone cancer is comparatively rare as compared to other types of tumors and cancers. Bone tumors are relatively complicated, difficult to manage, and life-threatening. Therefore an experienced orthopedic oncologist is essential to make the treatment effective with positive therapeutic outcomes. 

The main theme of this article is to explain the role of orthopedic oncologists in the treatment of bone cancer and the road map for individuals to become orthopedic oncologists. It will briefly cover the role, salary, and responsibilities of orthopedic oncologists. 

Who is an Orthopedic Oncologist?

An orthopedic oncologist is a medical doctor and surgeon with a specialization in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of bone tumors and cancers. Orthopedic oncologists are professionally trained surgeons with a specialization in orthopedics and oncology. They receive additional qualifications, residency, and fellowship to become the expert of orthopedic oncology. 

What Can Orthopedic Oncologists Do?

Orthopedic oncologist complete their education and training to perform the following functions 

  • Detect primary bone cancer
  • Suggest the best treatment plan to cure the disease
  • Perform surgery to eliminate cancer cells
  • Capable to perform reconstructive surgery to restore function
  • Pain management related to cancer treatment.
  • Follow the surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy to avoid recurrence of cancer cells.

How Long it Will Take to Become an Orthopedic Oncologist:

It takes about 7 to 8 years to become an orthopedic oncologist (from medical school till fellowship). If you count right from the undergraduate program then the exact duration will become 11 to 12 years. It’s an excessive duration that highlights the struggle and worth of orthopedic oncologists.

How To Become an Orthopedic Oncologist?

The Academic criteria and plan to become an orthopedic oncologist vary from country to country. Generally, the prime step is to be a medical doctor by doing M.B.B.S and followed by specialization in orthopedic oncology. 

  • Step 1: Individuals who aim to become orthopedic oncologists must have complete four years of an undergraduate program like other medical doctors. 
  • Step 2: After completion of an undergraduate program, the student must complete his four years of medical school 
  • Step 3: Complete your specialization in orthopedic surgery by fulfilling residency. This duration may last as long as five years. 
  • Step 4: The final step to becoming an orthopedic oncologist is to complete a fellowship program of one or two years. 

What Conditions Are Treated By Orthopedic Oncologists?

Orthopedic oncologists are trained to treat the full range of orthopedic tumors, cancers, and all types of soft tissues tumors that include

  • Sarcomas
  • Osteosarcomas
  • Metastatic cancer of bones
  • Multiple myelomas
  • Malignant bone tumors
  • Benign bone tumors

The orthopedic oncologist also deals with the patient with pathologic fractures specifically due to metastatic carcinoma such as cancer in the kidney, lungs, breast, prostate, thyroid, malignant melanoma, etc. 

Types of Treatment The Orthopedic Oncologist Provides

The orthopedic oncologist provides different types of treatment that depend upon the medical condition and type of bone cancer. Typically the treatment that orthopedic oncologist provides are:

  • Percutaneous biopsy
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Bone grafting
  • Prosthetic replacement
  • Allo prosthetic replacement
  • Mega prosthetic replacement
  • Sequential imaging
  • Biopsy
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy 

Or the combination of biopsy, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy according to the patients’ type of cancer, stage of cancer, age, health, and risk of recurrence. 

Sometimes team approach is necessary involving medical doctors and surgeons from different medical specialties to treat the patient accordingly. This team approach may include the following medical specialists;

  • Medical oncologists
  • Pediatric oncologists
  • Radiation therapists
  • Surgical pathologists
  • A diagnostic and interventional radiologist
  • Vascular and plastic surgeon

Salary of Orthopedic Oncologist:

The salary of an orthopedic oncologist varies from country to country and it highly depends upon the experience of the oncologist. The median salary of an orthopedic oncologist in the U.S. is reported to be $307,516 annually. Generally, the salary of orthopedic oncologists ranges between $65,140 to $1,705,918. 

The starting salary of an orthopedic oncologist in Sydney, Australia with experience of 1-3 years is reported as $290,226. Senior orthopedic oncologist in the same place ( Sydney, Australia) can earn an average salary of $584,460

When to See an Orthopedic Oncologist?

Bone tumors are not a common ailment like flu. It definitely needs a very serious concern of patients and their families. Now the question is when to see an orthopedic oncologist?

Bone tumors do not have any prominent symptoms however uncommon pain in joints, swelling, and lump formation are indicators. These indicators tell you that something unusual is occurring in your body. You won’t directly go to the orthopedic oncologist. 

Firstly you should visit a physician who will analyze your medical condition, conduct some laboratory tests. In case that diagnosis becomes difficult or points out towards any type of bone tumor then your doctor will refer you to an orthopedic oncologist.

What To Expect From an Orthopedic Oncologist?

You should not worry about the skills and expertise of an orthopedic surgeon. Right from the beginning till the end of treatment, an orthopedic surgeon will behave as supervisors for all of the surgical procedures. He is supposed to tell you every possible side effect of surgical procedure, the chance of recovery, the approximate ratio of recurrence of the tumor, and a lot about your medical condition. 

Conclusive Thoughts:

Orthopedic oncologists are the medical doctors and surgeons who treat all types of bone tumors. They receive additional training and qualifications to become orthopedic surgeons. The ratio of orthopedic surgeons throughout the world is less as it’s such a struggling field that demands your time, energy, youth, and complete focus. This struggle is real but an orthopedic oncologist makes a handsome salary to prove that hard work pays off. 

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