Oncology is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer. Though all cancer results from the same general biochemical events, slight differences in the types of cells that eventually become cancerous greatly affects how the disease is treated.
- Breast Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Gynecologic Cancers
- Hematologic Cancer
- Blood Clots
- More other related conditions
Oncologists often work closely with other specialties to diagnose and treat cancer. Pathologists, radiologists, and social workers are all part of the multidisciplinary team needed to treat and manage cancer. Oncologists usually lead these teams and coordinate patient care.
State-of-the-Art Cancer Care
Treating cancer is one of the most complex endeavors in medical care. Modern cancer treatment is made possible due to an ability to precisely identify specific cancers that allows oncologist to tailor treatment to the specific needs of the patient and the disease. Many current approaches to cancer treatment work only when the specific cells that cause cancer, along with their unique characteristics, are known.
Perhaps the most important advancement in the treatment of cancer in recent years has been the development of immunologic therapy (a.k.a. immunotherapy), which recruits the body's own immune system to help fight cancer. Immunologic therapy is custom tailored not just to the individual cancer being treated, but to the individual patient as well. Immunotherapy uses monoclonal antibodies, oncolytic viruses, interferons, interleukins, T-cell therapy, and cancer vaccines to boost the body's natural defenses against cancer. By specifically target individual cancer sub-types immunotherapy is vastly improving the success rates of cancer therapy.
The most important principle in all of cancer therapy, however, is early diagnosis. The sooner a cancer is caught, the more likely it is that it can be cured. Oncologists continue to push the limits of blood testing, imaging (x-ray, CT, MRI, etc.), and other methods of early diagnosis in order to make cancer care more effective and improve long-term survival rates. Thanks to the efforts of oncologists, once incurable cancers like leukemia, testicular cancer, lymphoma, and sarcoma are becoming increasingly curable, sometimes even when metastatic.