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August 1988

Chiron Speaks: Chiron Answers Questions From Correspondents

Author Affiliations

Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988;114(8):844. doi:10.1001/archotol.1988.01860200028008

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"What, and who, are oncologists?"

This question from a Wisconsin reader I welcome, because I have been aware lately that our patients also are asking, and with greater frequency: "Are you an Oncologist? My wife (husband) would like to see an Oncologist."

Should there not be a standard answer to this question, perhaps agreed on by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and one, at least, accepted by the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery (ASHNS)? A recognized and established definition would certainly simplify our consultations, and subtle benefits, especially for the head and neck surgeon, might be realized. However, until there is a standard answer let me develop one that readers may amend. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1987 edition, states that the word oncologist is a noun arising from the noun oncology that, in turn, was derived from the Greek onkos, meaning bulk or

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