Dr. Shonka has been trained in three medical specialties.
Internal medicine is a specialized field of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of all types of adult diseases. Due to the fact that there are thousands of different diseases and afflictions that affect adults, internists (physicians who practice internal medicine) often serve as primary care physicians to their patients.
Internists play a crucial role in the diagnosis of disease in adult patients and perform a variety of diagnostic procedures and tests to assist in this process. Internists are trained to perform and analyze blood tests, review family histories, review diagnostic imaging tests, skin tests, biopsies, stress tests and endoscopies, among many other procedures, depending upon the patient’s condition or apparent symptoms.
Doctors of internal medicine are prepared to provide treatment patients with diseases that relate to, or encompass, more than one bodily system. It is this expertise that allows internists to be the “puzzle solvers” of primary care when it comes to making diagnoses; internists are often consulted for their diagnostic capabilities when other primary care physicians are unable to arrive at the correct diagnosis.
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Oncology is a specialized field of medicine that encompasses the diagnosis, treatment and management of all forms and types of cancer. Within oncology there are three main subspecialties – medical oncology, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology. Medical oncologists use a variety of medications to treat those with cancer; surgical oncologists perform a variety of operations to treat cancer; radiation oncologists utilize radiation therapies and treatments to treat cancer. Aside from the three main subspecialties, there are others including gynecologic and pediatric oncology.
Generally, oncologists work to diagnose and screen for various types of cancer through such procedures as biopsies and endoscopies, as well as the use of medical imaging techniques (including ultrasounds, MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays). Oncologists may also order nuclear medicine testing procedures to diagnose certain types of cancer. Aside from these techniques, oncologists may search for tumor markers, which are found in the blood or urine when malignant cancer is present.
Oncologists also draw upon their expertise to determine what form of interventional therapy would be most effective for each specific case. For example, the oncologist will determine if radiotherapy or chemotherapy should be administered, or if surgery is necessary to remove all or part of a tumor to halt the advancement of the disease. Oncologists may also provide various forms of hormonal therapy, as well as other treatments and procedures that treat and manage cancers.
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Hematology/oncology is a highly specialized field of medicine that serves to diagnose and treat patients suffering from hematologic (blood-related) disorders and malignant (cancerous) diseases. Because many cancers involve the blood, and the two specialties of hematology and oncology often overlap in this regard, the specialized field of hematology/oncology has emerged.
Having trained in both hematology and oncology, these physicians are capable of diagnosing and treating both blood-related disorders and cancer as separate diseases. However, hematologist oncologists are also specialists at providing treatment for patients suffering from the many disorders that overlap into both specialties, such as cancers affecting the blood. Examples of these types of conditions include lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma, among others.
Hematologist oncologists often work as part of a multidisciplinary medical team to provide the requisite treatment to patients. Medical teams may include radiologists, psychiatrists and nuclear medicine specialists, among others. Hematologist oncologists draw upon their vast knowledge of both medical specialties to ensure that patients are receiving complete medical care, as disorders of this nature can be very complex and wide-ranging.
Learn more about hematology / oncology at MD.com.