What is a haematologist- oncologist?
A haematologist-oncologist is a doctor who has expertise in diagnosing and treating blood cancers and diseases, such as haemophilia, iron-deficiency anaemia, sickle-cell disease, leukaemia and lymphoma. Apart from treating blood cancers, such as multiple myelomas and Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins lymphomas, they may also be involved in the management of solid tumours.
Haematologist-oncologists usually work with professionals from other departments for the treatment and management of blood related diseases, some of which may include pathology, surgery, radiation-oncology, radiology, etc.
Why would someone be referred to a haematologist-oncologist?
A general physician may recommend someone to consult a haematologist-oncologist if they have some of the following blood disorders:
Bleeding into joints
Delayed blood clotting after wound, injury or surgery
Shortness of breath
Swollen lymph nodes
Low red blood cell and white blood cell count
Petechiae or pinpoint skin rashes caused due to low platelet counts
Although these abnormalities dont necessarily point out to a serious disease, they may indicate serious blood disorders as well. So, it is better to get them checked by a specialist.
How does the consultation procedure work?
The consultation process generally starts by looking at the patients existing records, such as medical history, recent laboratory tests, blood test results, etc. The doctor will ask the patients about their symptoms and any unusual blood-related problems. During the consultation, the patients must give as much details as possible about their condition to help the haematologist arrive at a conclusive diagnosis.
Sometimes, the initial tests may not be enough to arrive at a conclusion. So, the haematologist may request for further tests like complete blood count, platelet aggregation tests and bleeding time measurement.