Oncology is that branch of medicine which deals with preventing, diagnosis, followed by treating of cancer. An oncologist is one who practices oncology as a profession. Cancer survival improves because of three key components: better prevention efforts so that exposure to risk factors is reduced (like tobacco intake and alcohol intake), better screening of various cancers (enhancing earlier diagnosis), followed by treatment improvement.

The management of cancer is often through the discussion about multidisciplinary conferences on cancer where surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, and organ specialist at oncology meet so that they can find what is the best possible management for a patient after understanding his/her emotional, financial, psychological, physical, social condition for the patient. Oncologists need to remain updated at all times about the latest advancements in oncology, as it is quite common that there will be advancements and changes in management of cancer. As cancer diagnosis usually causes anxiety and distress, there are a number of strategies used by clinicians like SPIKES to deliver the bad news.

Agents that can cause cancer

The leading reason for cancer is tobacco. It can even cause death. Smoking increases the risk of lung, throat, mouth, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, stomach, liver, kidney, bladder, brain, cervix, rectum, and colon. Smokeless tobacco as in snuff or chewing tobacco can increase the risk of cancer in pancreas, oesophagus, and mouth.

Another agent that can increase the risk of cancer is alcohol. Alcohol may cause cancer in the breast, liver, larynx, oesophagus, throat, and mouth. Those drinking alcohol have a much higher risk of getting cancer.

Obesity is yet another agent that invites cancer. Obese people have high risk of contracting cancer of the gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, oesophagus, endometrium, rectum, colon, and breast. Moreover, advanced age also comes with the risk of various types of cancers.

Specialties in cancer:

There are three main divisions:

  1. Medical oncology: that focuses on treating cancer using hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy.
  2. Surgical oncology: focus is on treating cancer with the help of surgery.
  3. Radiation oncology: When surgeons treat cancer with radiation.

There are other sub-specialties in Oncology:

  1. Neuro-oncology: It focuses in the cancer in brain.
  2. Ocular oncology: It focuses on eye cancer.
  3. Neck and head oncology: It focuses on the cancers of larynx, hypopharynx, oropharynx, nasal cavity, and oral cavity.
  4. Thoracic oncology: focuses on cancers of pleura, oesophagus, mediastinum, and lung.

There are several other branches of oncology like breast oncology, gastrointestinal, bone and musculoskeletal, dermatological, genitourinary, gynaecologic, paediatric, and so on. There is an emerging specialty called computational oncology. Under this process, a cloud-based platform is used towards supporting decision making in cases of clinical management of malignant tumours, offering predictive tools to help in diagnosis, prognosis, therapies, followed by follow up treatment on the basis of using novel imaging biomarkers, for all kinds of advanced diagnosis and follow treatments in case of oncology.

Ongoing research in oncology

Leukemia, lymphoma, early stage tumours, and germ cell tumours which were found to be incurable at one point in time have become curable now. Immunotherapies are already proving highly efficient in leukemia, bladder cancer and several other skin cancers. There is huge opportunity and promise for future of oncology through research. VASU Multispecialty Hospital has its highly efficient research specialists who are taking up the newer researches happening around world and helping in bringing the latest of technologies and knowhow in oncology.