Oncology deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The term oncology is the combination of two words. The word “onco” means bulk, or mass, or tumour the other word “logy” means study of cancer. The medical person who studies and practices oncology is known as oncologist.Z
The components such as prevention, diagnosis and treatment has helped improve the survival rates of cancer. Cancer can be prevented by reducing the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, if the cancer is diagnosed at early stage then there are higher chances of survival. The treatment includes – multimodality management and treatment in a comprehensive cancer centre dealing especially with cancer.
The role of oncologist is spread across various domains depending upon the condition of the patient. They assist in diagnosis of cancer at early stages and suggest measures if the cancer has stepped up and aggressive measure are required. Clinical history of the patient is of the most crucial diagnostic tool. The common symptoms include fatigue, rapid weight loss, unexplained anaemia, fever with untraced origin.
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The exact mechanism beyond the transformation of normal cells to cancerous is still not backed by a strong proof. However, various factors are known which are responsible in producing cancer-like cells such as tobacco alcohol consumption, smoking and chewing, radiation, exposure to certain chemicals, excessive fat consumption, etc.
No, not all lumps occurring in any part of the body has cancer cells. Sometimes these lumps grow to large sizes and produce ulcers. Due to which, they interfere with normal body functions of organs. However, this will never be the reason beyond death and can easily be cured by undergoing surgery and there is probability that the same will not recur. They usually don’t spread to other parts of the body. They are harmless in nature. Cancer causing lumps are malignant in nature. It is characterised by its potential to spread across and infiltrate another organs.
Cancer affects body organs which is backed by various factors. In India, there are many variations which affects the pattern and occurrence of cancer. However, in many men, most of the cancers are seen in the mouth, throat, lung, stomach, etc. While in women, they are found in large numbers in uterus, breast, mouth and throat. So, the cancer can be of various types and suffered by various individuals and is not location specific.
Cancer goes through various stages and the stage determines the spread of cancer. It is crucial to know the stages of cancer before opting for the treatment options. Most often, physicians use TNM system for staging. This system gives three key pieces of information:
Survival rates of cancer has varied degree , but for the cancers diagnosed between the period of 1996 to 2002, the survival rate is in this bracket of 66-70% which was up by 15 % as compared to the period of 1975 – 1977. This increase is attributed to the detection of cancer at early stages coupled with new and improved treatments.
Types of treatment for cancer ranges from surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone and biological therapy. These treatments may be used alone or in combination to maximize the patients’ survival. Surgery and radiation therapy are categorized in the local treatments as they specifically target the cancer cells in the tumour. Chemotherapy, hormone and biological therapy under systemic treatments, meaning they travel through the bloodstream and attacks the cancer cells. Its recommended for patients to work closely with their oncologist and decide the best treatment choice available.