Education & training
A cardiothoracic surgeon is a specialist who treatment of diseases affecting organs within the thorax (the chest), principally the heart, lungs and oesophagus. Cardiac surgeons perform various kinds of surgery including coronary artery bypass surgery (restoring blood flow to the heart by bypassing the narrowed coronary arteries), heart valve surgery (repairing and replacing narrowed or leaking heart valves), aortic surgery (replacing an enlarged or damaged blood vessel leaving the heart). Thoracic surgeons perform a wide range of surgery including surgery for lung cancer, tumours and cysts. Congenital cardiac surgeons treat babies and children with heart diseases that have been present from birth. These conditions include septal defects (a hole between two of the heart’s chambers), aortic and pulmonary valve stenosis (where the valve is narrower than normal), transposition of the arteries. A cardiothoracic surgeon also provides specialized care for heart failure patients including cardiac-assist devices, ventricular restorative procedures and heart transplantation. As well as performing surgery, they also diagnose and treat diseases of these organs. Medical oncologists are doctors who diagnose, assess, treat and manage patients with cancers (malignant tumours) and conduct translational research (ie research that has practical applications). Medical oncologists treat patients who have localised or metastatic malignancy in need of systemic therapy. They also treat patients whose cancer has potentially been cured by surgery but for whom further therapy improves their outlook. Clinical oncologists are doctors who use radiotherapy and chemotherapy to treat and manage patients with cancer. They also use a range of other treatments to treat cancers, without using surgery. Medical and clinical oncologists often work in partnership together, and clinical oncology covers both the therapeutic administration of ionising radiation (radiotherapy) and cytotoxic chemotherapy. However, only clinical oncologists administer radiotherapy.