Oncology is the medical study of cancer including its diagnosis, prevention, and therapy, which usually comprises three types of treatment: surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, with the follow-up care.
Oncology deals with other aspects of the condition as well:
- Palliative care – which applies to patients with terminal tumors and malignancies.
- Screening efforts and research on populations, mapping of the hereditary basis of certain types of cancer.
- Also, oncology addresses ethical issues such as euthanasia
What Happens in Cancerous Patients?
Cells in the body have a complex mechanism that controls their growth, maturity, and reproduction. Cancer develops when cells in one part of the body begin to grow at a different pace, in a pattern that gets out of control. They are referred as abnormal cells.
Cancer Treatment Types
- There are several ways to treat a tumor: with hormone therapy, commonly called medicine, immunotherapy, radiation or surgery. The treatment depends on the type of cancer and the stage.
- Radiation Oncology – treats cancer with radiation.
- Medical Oncology – will oversee general care and coordinate treatment with other mentioned specialists and perform regular checkups.
- Surgical oncology – it is the surgeon with specialized training to diagnose through biopsy, remove tumors and cancerous tissue.
- Chemotherapy – uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy – blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy or biologic therapy- boosts body’s natural defenses against cancer
An operation to repair or remove part of your body to diagnose or treat cancer remains the foundation of cancer treatment. Your doctor may use cancer surgery to achieve any number of goals, from diagnosing and treating your cancer to relieving the symptoms it causes.
Types of cancer surgeries:
- Curative Surgery:
Simply involves removal of a cancerous tumor. It works best on localized cancers that haven’t yet spread to other parts of the body and is often followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy to make sure all cancerous cells have been removed.
- Preventive Surgery:
It is used to keep cancer from occurring. Many colon cancers can be prevented by removing precancerous polyps before they become malignant. A woman at very high risk for breast cancer may decide to have her breasts removed rather than worry about getting breast cancer later in life.
- Reconstructive Surgery:
It returns the body to normal or near-normal appearance or function following cancer treatment. The most common restorative surgery is breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Facial reconstruction and testicular implants are also examples of reconstructive surgery.
- Diagnostic Surgery (Biopsy):
In this procedure, the surgeon removes some or all of a tumor for examination to determine if the growth is cancerous.
- Staging Surgery:
It is used to determine the extent of cancer. This procedure can sometimes be done without an incision by using tiny cameras (scopes) attached to a flexible tube, which is inserted into natural body openings. An endoscope is used in hollow body cavities and organs such as the lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract. Besides allowing surgeons to view the suspicious area, these devices can take a tissue sample. A laparoscope is used to view the abdominal cavity. Laparotomy involves a small incision in the abdominal cavity, done under general anesthesia. Laparotomies are used when less invasive procedures can not examine the suspicious area.
- Supportive Surgery:
It is used to help with other cancer treatments. For example, some chemotherapy devices require a port (connecting device) to be inserted under the skin.
- Palliative Surgery:
It is only used to ease the pain, disability or other complications that come with advanced cancer. Palliative surgery may improve the quality of life but is not a cure or anti-cancer treatment.