Oncology refers to the branch of science dealing with cancers and tumors. Oncology services are concerned with any type of cancer diagnosis in people, therapy such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery and other types, patient follow-up after successful treatment of cancer, palliative care for patients displaying terminal malignancies and ethical questions that manifest in cancer care. Also, oncology is concerned with screening efforts of the patient’s relatives for those cancers resulting from hereditary factors like breast cancer.
Major disciplines of oncology
Clinical oncology has three major disciplines that manifest clearly in oncology services, including radiation oncology, surgical oncology and medical oncology.
Medical oncologists are heavily involved in the treatment of cancers using chemotherapy where drugs are also used to kill the cancer causing cells.
Surgical oncologists specialize in surgical aspects in cancer treatment, such as biopsy, where small tissues are removed for microscope examination as well as surgical removal of cancer, lymph nodes nearby as well as surrounding tissues.
On the other hand, radiation oncologists are involved in the treatment of cancer through radiation therapy, where x-rays in high energy are used in the destruction of cancer cells.
Oncology services include diagnosis of the condition prior to treatment. Screening tools are very important, with medical history termed as the best. This includes the complaints character as well as any other symptoms like paraneoplastic phenomena, unknown fever, unexplained anemia, weight loss and fatigue. Through a physical examination, it is possible to reveal where a malignancy is located.
The methods of diagnoses include resection, excisional or incisional biopsy, which are very reliable ways of definitive cancer diagnosis. Endoscopy is also another way to diagnose, mostly on the lower or upper gastrointestinal, nasendoscopy or bronchoscopy. Radiological techniques are also used, such as ultrasound, PET scan, MRI scans, CT scanning and X-rays. Also, diagnosis can also be made through nuclear medicine methods, such as positron emission tomography, scintigraphy among others.
Blood tests are also used, such as tumor markers that might heighten the suspicion a specific tumor is active. Apart from being used in diagnosing cancer, these modalities like CT scanning are also put into use often in ascertaining operability, the possibility of removing a tumor completely through surgery.
Oncology services help to fight cancer effectively, the toughest challenge many people face or will face in life. However, you do not have to face the condition on your own. These services are provided by outstanding clinical expert teams committed in helping a patient to go through this time easily and lovingly as treatments are offered compassionately, respectfully and with great skills, no matter the type of tumor or cancer or care required.
Cancer research and oncology involves general population screening to find cancer or patient relatives screening for hereditary cancers. A good example is breast cancer that includes population screening through a normal mammography or genetic analysis through familial screening.
Today, many countries are now adopting oncology services comprised of a multidisciplinary team offering the treatment. Such a team usually meets regularly to discuss the best approach to follow to treat a patient within their care. These multidisciplinary teams consist of clinical oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, surgeons, radiotherapists, and specialists on specific organs such as dermatologists or gynecologists and in certain cases, the general practitioner.
The US News and World Report’s 2014 number one ranked Cancer treatment Hospitals in the United States is in Texas. http://www.mdanderson.org/ They have cutting edge technology and research that have helped lift the center to the top spot. Also, the fact that Texas boasts multiple excellent Universities is a another driver that helps keep the doctor talent in the state.
Long Term Care such as care received at home or in a nursing home as a result of cancer has been a growing cause of claim on Long Term Care Insurance. This type of insurance helps cancer patients recover by giving them care of their basic needs such a eating and bathing until the patient is back on their feet.