Terms for Medical Specialists of the Lymphatic & Immune Systems

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  • 0:00 The Immune System
  • 0:41 Allergists and Immunologists
  • 2:16 Oncologist
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Your body is made up of many different cells that can go crazy on you, causing diseases from asthma to cancer. Thankfully, there are people who can help. Learn who they are in this lesson on medical specialists of the immune and lymphatic systems.

The Immune System

Inside of your body is an internal security force protecting you from danger on a second-by-second basis. It's not called the police force, SWAT, or army. It's the immune system.

The immune system stops many dangerous foreign invaders, like germs, from killing you. But sometimes, it goes a bit overboard and causes allergies. Other times, it doesn't do enough, making you vulnerable to attack from the outside.

The immune system works closely with the lymphatic system, and it can even recognize and kill cancer cells. So let's go over a few of the medical specialties that deal with the immune system, lymphatic system, and cancer.

Allergists and Immunologists

When the immune system overreacts, like people can overreact to a problem, it can cause everything from allergies to asthma. For example, an allergy can be boiled down to this. Have you ever jumped up on a chair at the sight of a tiny harmless bug crawling on the floor? That bug is harmless and more afraid of you than you are of it. But still, you overreacted. This is what happens with allergies. The immune system overreacts to things like dust that are, in the grand scheme of things, often meaningless.

It's one thing if such allergies can be controlled by over-the-counter medication. It's another thing when your allergies interfere with life and work. It's even worse when they are life-threatening. In these cases, it's best to go see an allergist, a physician that specializes in diagnosing and treating allergic disorders. An allergist is actually the common term for an allergist/immunologist. An immunologist is simply an individual who specializes in diagnosing and treating immune system disorders. The prefix 'immuno-' means 'protection from disease' and '-ologist' is a suffix for a 'specialist' of something.

Allergist/immunologists don't just focus on things like asthma and allergies. There are plenty of other immune system disorders that affect people. For instance, there are diseases known as immunodeficiency disorders. What happens in these types of disorders is that the immune system doesn't have enough soldiers to fight off an infection. And so, even normally harmless bugs can seriously hurt or kill a person.


Actually, even normally harmless cells that make up your body can seriously hurt or kill you as well. Here's what I mean. As I mentioned in the intro, the immune system and lymphatic system are closely related. The lymphatic system carries a fluid called, easily enough, lymph throughout your body. Lymph carries immune system cells that fight off infection.

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