Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. A medical professional who practices oncology is an oncologist.
The three components which have improved survival in cancer are:
Prevention - This is by reduction of risk factors like tobacco & alcohol consumption
Early diagnosis - Screening of common cancers and comprehensive diagnosis and staging
Treatment - Multimodality management by discussion in tumour board and treatment in a comprehensive cancer centre
Cancers are best managed by discussing in multi-disciplinary tumour boards where medical oncologist, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, pathologist, radiologist and organ specific oncologists meet to find the best possible management for an individual patient considering the physical, social, psychological, emotional and financial status of the patients. It is very important for oncologists to keep updated of the latest advancements in oncology as changes in management of cancer are quite common. All fit patients whose cancer progresses and no standard of care treatment options are available should be enrolled in a clinical trial.
A coronal CT scan showing a malignant mesothelioma, indicated by the asterisk and the arrows
Focus Cancerous tumor
Subdivisions Medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology
Significant tests Tumor markers, TNM staging, CT scans, MRI