Hematologists study diseases and disorders of the blood and the blood-forming tissues, such as the bone marrow and the spleen. A hematologist is proficient in a range of diagnostic techniques in which blood and bone marrow samples are used to shed light on disease processes.
Blood analyses can aid in developing treatment for a patient. The hematologist's primary concern, however, is the host of diseases and disorders related to the blood itself, including inability of the red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen, inability of the white blood cells to fight against invading microorganisms, and inability of the bone marrow to manufacture enough red blood cells. The hematologist is also an expert on cancer of the blood (leukemia) and on blood-clotting problems, such as hemophilia.
The hematologist must be firmly grounded not only in internal medicine, anatomy, and physiology but also in biochemistry. Knowledge of computerized diagnostic equipment and sophisticated biochemical analyses is also necessary.
A hematologist must complete an internship and a residency in internal medicine plus two years of training in hematology. Hematologists are also trained as oncologists (cancer specialists).
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