Oncology is the branch of medicine that deals with cancer and the tumors that form in the body. Cancer is the condition in which the cells divide without any control. Usually the number of cells formed in the body in each tissue are under control. But when they start to grow without a control in excess of the amount, abnormal cells are formed and the condition is known as cancer. Cancer can develop in almost any organ of the body. Healthcare practitioners who diagnose and treat the cancers are known as oncologists or the cancer specialist. Oncologists plan the treatment of each patient according to the stage of disease of the patient. They choose treatment according to the suitability of a patient. In the treatment of cancer, many healthcare professionals work together to design the best treatment for each patient. There is a range of treatments in the field of medicine to treat cancer with best care and have various options for each patient. They also make sure to continue the treatment even after the cure to prevent the recurrence of cancer. When the cancer is in the last stage or is unable to be treated, the healthcare professionals focus on the palliative treatment. Palliative treatment deals with only the symptoms for the relief of patients. It focuses on improving the quality of life of patients.
Common types of cancers in oncology
Some common types of cancers that are treated in oncology department are as follow:
Breast Cancer: breast cancer is most common in women but can also be present in men.
Lung Cancer: The cancer of lungs is most common in smokers but also has other risk factors.
Prostate Cancer: The cancer that affects the prostate gland in men is the common type of cancer among men.
Skin Cancer: Cancer occurs in skin due to dangerous chemicals in contact or by the harmful radiations.
Ovarian Cancer: The cancer affects the ovaries in women which are reproductive organs.
Pancreatic Cancer: Originating in the pancreas, this cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, making treatment difficult.
Liver Cancer: This cancer affects the liver cells and is common in those who consume alcohol in large amounts.
Kidney Cancer: Kidney cells began to grow out of control in kidney cancer and cause symptoms.
Cervical Cancer: The cancer that affects the cervix in women is cervical cancer and most common in old age women.
Brain Tumors: These cancers can occur in the brain or spinal cord.
Note: Cancer can be found in almost every part or any organ in the body. And the oncologists treat cancers and tumors according to the stage of cancer.
Some of the treatments used in oncology are as follow:
Surgery is the treatment to remove the tumors from the organs. This treatment is usually used when the cancer is in its first stage. The solid tumors in breast, lung and prostate can be removed from surgery.
Chemotherapy uses medications and drugs that kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other treatments for aggressive treatments.
This treatment uses high-energy rays or particles to kill the cancer cells. The radiation can be given by the source outside like a machine or the radioactive material can also be placed inside the tumor for treatment.
The targeted drug therapy usually destroys the nutrition for cancer cells that leads to damage of cancer cells itself. Target drug therapy is the latest technique in oncology.
Immunotherapy treatment uses the body's natural defense mechanism in the body to kill the cancer cells. It can be used to treat lung cancer and cervical cancer.
This is used for cancers that are triggered by hormones, like breast and prostate cancer. The hormone therapy blocks the pathways of hormones and kills the cancer cells.
In certain types of blood cancers, stem cell transplant treatment is used where damaged bone marrow that produces cancer cells is replaced with healthy bone marrow.
Palliative care treatment is used when cancer cannot be cured and is in the last stage. It focuses on improving the quality of life for people with advanced cancer. It helps to manage the symptoms and provides emotional support to deal with disease.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments or combinations. They offer the latest treatment options for patients and help to treat advanced cancer.
Some of the diagnostic techniques that are used in oncology are as follow:
These are like special pictures of the inside of your body. X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and PET scans help doctors to find out any unusual growths or tumors.
Biopsy is the confirmed method to diagnose the presence of cancer. In biopsy, a small tissue sample is taken from the body and is tested under laboratory conditions for cancer cell detection.
Cancer cells are abnormal cells and release abnormal amounts of substances in the blood. Blood tests are helpful in finding those substances due to the presence of cancer.
A tiny camera or endoscope is used to detect any abnormal growth inside the body. Endoscopy is usually used for stomach cancers.
This technique uses sound waves to create images of the organs. It is used most commonly for breast cancers or stomach cancers.
Some cancers are linked to certain genetic changes. Genetic tests are performed to find out these genes that are the risks for developing cancer.
In this technique, tissue cells and molecules are tested to find out the nature of disease. This helps in making the best treatment for a patient.
If blood cancers are suspected, a small amount of bone marrow is taken from the hip bone to check for abnormal cells.
If cancer is suspected to have spread to the lymph nodes, a small piece of the node is removed for examination.
The staging of cancer is very important for the treatment plan and diagnosis of the disease. Oncologists plant the treatment of a patient according to the stage of cancer. The staging of cancer also describes the progression of disease.
Stage 0: This is the earliest stage of cancer. In this stage, the cancer cells are only present at one layer of cells in the affected organ. The cancer in this stage is easiest to treat.
Stage I: The cancer is still small. In this stage, the cancer cells are present only inside the organ and have not spread to the surroundings.
Stage II: The cancer in this stage has spread to nearby tissues and organs and usually require aggressive treatment to cure the disease.
Stage III: The cancer in this stage is more complex and has spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of cancer. In this stage, the cancer spreads to the distant organs through the lymph nodes and may be unable to be treated. In this stage, oncologists go for palliative treatment.
Cancer can be the reason for mental and psychological distress in patients and their families. Some of the reactions of patient in diagnosis of cancer are:
Palliative care is a type of treatment that focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with serious diseases like cancer. It deals with managing symptoms, providing comfort, and offering support to both the patient and their family.
In this treatment, oncologists work to control pain, vomiting, fatigue, and other physical symptoms that can be caused by cancer and its treatments.
Diseases like cancer can be emotionally challenging. Palliative care teams provide counseling and support to help patients and families to deal with stress and depression.
Palliative care experts discuss the disease and treatments with the patient and family with all the side effects and financial issues.
The healthcare team always works in collaboration to plan a treatment for an individual treatment plan for a patient. In this way, the specific condition of a patient can be easily managed.
Palliative care helps patients to engage in activities of daily living and allows them to feel independent.
Palliative care also provides guidance for families so that they can deal with patients more effectively.
The healthcare team in which oncologists, physicians, radiologists and physical therapists work together to provide care for patients. In this way, no important detail about the patient can be neglected.
The cost of cancer treatment in India ranges from 1000 USD to 5000 USD. The cost can vary according to the type of cancer and organ involved. The cost can also vary according to the stage of cancer and the condition of the patient at the time of diagnosis. Some of the treatments and their cost are as follow:
|Treatment Costs in India||Min Cost in USD||Max Cost in USD|
|Chemotherapy||532 USD||710 USD|
|Radiotherapy||2237 USD||2983 USD|
|Breast Cancer||1598 USD||2131 USD|
|PET Scan||266 USD||355 USD|
|Oral Cancer - Surgical||1705 USD||2273 USD|
|Breast Cancer-Surgical||1598 USD||2131 USD|
|Liver Cancer||2397 USD||3196 USD|
|Colon Cancer Treatment||3463 USD||4617 USD|
|Skin Cancer||2664 USD||3552 USD|
|Lung Cancer Treatment||4262 USD||5683 USD|
|Ovarian Cancer Surgery||3463 USD||4617 USD|
|Cervical Cancer Treatment||2557 USD||3409 USD|
|Pancreatic Cancer||3997 USD||5328 USD|
Symptoms of cancer are usually according to the type of cancer. For example, lung cancer has the symptoms related to breathing difficulties and symptoms of vomiting, abdominal pain can be related to stomach cancer. Some of the symptoms related to cancer that are treated by oncologists are as follow:
Some of the causes of cancer development are as follow:
Some genes that run in the family can be the major risk factor of developing cancer in the body. The positive family history of cancer can be the cause of genetic factors in families.
Tobacco smoke, air pollution and certain chemicals are the cancer producing factors in the environment so they are the major risk factor for lung cancer and skin cancer.
Unhealthy lifestyle like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and obesity can increase the risk of many cancers. For example, alcohol is the major risk factor of liver cancer.
The risk of cancer increases with age. Cells become weak in old age and may damage easily that can be the risk factor of cancer.
High radiations like long exposure to x-rays and ultraviolet rays from the sun can be the risk factor of skin cancer.
Some viruses like human papillomavirus, hepatitis B and C, and human immunodeficiency virus can increase the risk of developing different cancers.
Some medications which include hormone therapy can increase the risk of cancer in the body.
Some diseases that include swelling for a long time can increase the risk of cancer.
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