Specializing in a particular field of medicine is nothing new. Medical specialistshave always been around. For millennia we have always had the general practioner, but in the last 100 years, specialization has increased. Technology, research, and observation have helped to increase the number of concentrations available for those choosing to enter a medical career. It provides greater options for more particular study and practice. But this also benefits the patient as well.

Many students preparing for, and entering into, a medical career are moving away from traditional medicine for more specialized practice, whether it be in a lab, a classroom, or with technology. Additionally, all these have made way for more acute treatment needing doctors and other medical personnel who can focus their attention to one unique area of medicine. Yet, in spite of these changes in career choice due to medical demands, changes within certain disciplines remain and have multiplied. Of course, this list is practically without number these days, so we will look at three fields where specialization within disciplines has occurred.

 

Breast Cancer

 

Perhaps the most important way the field of breast cancer has changed has been in detection, and with a better understanding of how breast cancer can be passed down through generations by identifying genes via DNA testing. Education has helped this cause as more women understand that if breast cancer has been prominent in their family, then it is wise to get checked for it early and often once into adulthood. As well, instead of having to cut open a women, needle core biopsies have helped make the determination process that much less invasive and painful, while reducing costs for this search for answers.

Digital mammography, breast MRI’s, and whole breast ultrasound has also made diagnosis less invasive. What is on the future for diagnosis is exciting as genomic testing allows for multiple gene testing, evaluating certain genes that may help define breast cancer risk to a patient. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery have been the norms for dealing with those with breast cancer. While chemotherapy remains the most effective way to kill off cancer cells, but advances in immune system strengthening through medication, and anit0nausea medication, help the patient significantly deal with the physical, and, therefore, emotional stress of having to undergo such radical treatment. Accelerated partial radiation allows the doctor to aim with laser-like precision right at the tumor instead of scattering the radiation over the entire breast.

 

Internal Medicine

 

An internal medicine doctor (IMD) diagnoses and treats adults with internal diseases. They can also be a general practioner in practice, but less and less all the time. Many IMD’s keep typical office hours, but can also be found practicing in hospitals and laboratories conducting research on specific diseases found in adults. Within internal medicine there are now at least 12 major sub-specialties that doctors can choose to work on. Technology and research has opened the door for them to move into like fields and become specialists. Some include:

  • Cardiology – This is concerned with the functioning and health of the human heart, blood vessels, and the circulation of blood through the body.
  • Geriatrics – With an aging population in the United States, this field is exploding as it cares for the well-being of adults over 55. Assessment, education, rehabilitation, and long-term care make up this practice.
  • Hematology – This is concerned with disorders of the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic systems. These include aplastic anemia and other bone marrow failures, abnormal clotting and bleeding, Hodgkin’s Disease, leukemia, lymphoma, and others.

 

ENT Treatment

 

Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) medicine has also seen many changes over the last few decades. The following are evolving areas of specialization for the ENT physician:

  • Allergy Treatment – While there are no cures for allergies, yet, there has been much improvement in both the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, and how to help people reduce the suffering from allergens. Yet, it seems that there are more, and worse, cases of allergies than ever before. Some doctors believe this is a result of humans living in more closed environments, whether it is in a home or office, or even a car. We spend most of our time in these sealed atmospheres, and they have become breeding grounds for allergens from mold, pollen, and other airborne irritants. Plus, more than ever, we bring animals into our home to live when much of the past we kept our pets outside. Allergy shots have improved to the point where they are now designed to beat the allergens to the mast and stave off histamine creation, which is our immune systems way of dealing with supposed attacks on our body. Histamine is created when these attacks occur, but keeping the allergens from attaching themselves to masts reduces the effect of allergies. Over-the-counter nasal sprays, pills, and liquids have come a long way, as have decongestants, in combating allergy symptoms. HEPA filters for vacuum cleaners, better air conditioning systems, and education of what causes a particular patient allergies have improved dramatically the last few decades.
  • Audiology – Today, audiologists and the practice of audiology have widespread visibility, and are found in public schools, health care centers, private practices, nursing homes, community agencies, the military, hospitals, colleges and universities, hearing aid dispensing centers, hearing and speech centers. They test hearing and listening ability, fit hearing aids and assistive listening devices, and provide training and rehabilitation programs for individuals with hearing and listening disorders. CCENT and Audiology new devices that can be permanently implanted within the ear, or attached to bone, allow for more discretion, and improve, if not solve, the hearing needs of their patients.

Medical Equipment and Service Reviews is a team of writers covering a broad variety of medical subjects and are committed to making the internet a better place.

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