Cancer Care Doctors: DOs and MDs

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers we have a diverse team of medical professionals who treat our patients with compassionate care. This includes physicians who have credentials including Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) practicing as doctors. Some patients may ask what the difference is for each of these doctors, and we offer the following to help answer that question.

What is the difference between Do and MD?

The two degrees possessed by doctors at Comprehensive Cancer reflect different types of medical school training. DOs attend osteopathic medical schools, whereas MDs attend allopathic medical schools.

Comprehensive has both DOs and MDs taking care of patients at our multi-specialty practice comprising medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, pulmonary medicine, cancer genetic counseling and clinical research at treatment centers located throughout Southern Nevada.

Twenty five percent of medical students in the United States train at osteopathic medical schools. That number has grown in recent years, with the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine reporting that first year enrollment at osteopathic medical schools increased by forty percent the past decade.

Criteria for applying to either an MD or DO program are largely the same, with both osteopathic and allopathic programs weighing university grade-point averages and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores as part of rigorous and highly selective admissions processes.  Curriculum is also largely the same structure, with students in each program spending much of their year to two years in a classroom and most of their training after that in clinical settings.

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine are fully licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine, and define their approach differently than MDs, with what’s described as a whole-person approach to focus on the prevention of illnesses and injuries. DOs are trained to listen closely and partner with patients to help them get healthy and stay well.

Osteopathic medicine is a distinct branch of medical practice in the United States. The osteopathic philosophy of medicine sees an interrelated unity in all systems of the body, creating a focused on looking beyond symptoms to understand how lifestyle and environmental factors impact your wellbeing.

While primary care remains a strong focus for the osteopathic profession, DOs practice in all medical specialties. During medical school, they receive special training in the musculoskeletal system, your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones. By combining this knowledge with advances in medical technology, they offer patients a comprehensive approach to care.

For Comprehensive’s MDs, they receive their degrees by studying Allopathic medicine, which refers to a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine. Allopathic physicians receive an MD. Allopathic physicians can choose to practice in a number of different specialty areas, as well as build a career in teaching or research.

For MDs at Comprehensive Cancer, using that degree to participate in clinical research is an important part of their professional efforts with Comprehensive. The practice participates in more than 170 active clinical research studies each year and has helped develop more than 100 FDA-approved therapies.

After medical school, all MDs are required to complete further training. It is at this time that they will choose the clinical area they will pursue in greater depth. Physicians may choose from a number of different specialties that will vary in terms of the number of years of post-graduate training required.

Comprehensive Cancer is proud to have assembled a talented team of physicians with DO and MD degrees,  all working together to provide world-class care to patients here in Southern Nevada, and many other patients who travel to the practice for care.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians, both MD and DO, at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for cancer including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, breast surgery and world-class clinical research and immunotherapy.  To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.


The content in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.