As a board-certified hematologist, it is necessary to continue their education throughout their career to maintain their certification. Because there are so many new developments each day in cancer treatment, some hematologists will specialize in blood cancers.
Often times, doctors who treat blood cancers have training in both hematology and oncology.
Common blood disorders that hematologists treat:
How does blood work?
Over half the blood in your body is plasma, which is the liquid part of your blood. It is made up of water, salts, fat, sugar and proteins. Plasma is what carries blood through the body and works to transport nutrients, carbon dioxide and other waste products, antibodies, clotting proteins, chemical messengers such as hormones, and proteins that help maintain the body’s fluid balance.
The other solid part of your blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Why do I need so many blood tests?
This is one of the most common questions we receive from patients. Blood tests can tell your doctor important information about your health. For example, a complete blood count (CBC) will indicate if your blood shows any signs of infection, immune system problems, bleeding problems, and anemia (low iron). If a blood chemistry panel is ordered, it will provide important information to your hematologist about your heart and other organs, your bones and muscles. This test also checks levels of blood sugar, calcium and other minerals in your blood and checks for levels of dehydration.
For cancer patients, hematologists/oncologists use blood tests to help diagnose cancer and monitor a patient’s blood counts and vital organs before and during their cancer treatment. Identifying specific tumor markers that can be detected in blood can aid in individualizing treatment, monitoring the status of the disease, and sometimes detect genetic abnormalities.