Let’s put this in simple words first; Oncology is the study and treatment of cancer. Oncologists are the doctors who study Oncology and are normally the main overseeing doctors for most cancer patients. During this time, they will go through various steps to help diagnose your cancer and help determine the stage your cancer is in. Then they go through the multiple options for recovery and help you through that too. Let’s take a look at each step and see how they help you through each stage.
The first step in Oncology is to determine the type of cancer. This is done through a variety of radiation treatments and scans. These can include biopsy, endoscopy, X-ray, CT scanning, MRI, PET scanning, ultrasound or other radiological methods. Other methods for determining cancer are blood tests, nuclear medicine tests, or tumour markers. Through these various scans and tests, doctors can determine which cancer you are suffering from. This ultimately will lead them to the correct methods of helping you get better, too.
Provide Treatment Plans
Once they have determined the type of cancer, the doctor will take the time to sit down and explain the diagnosis and stage of cancer. They will be able to provide you with detailed information about your diagnosis and the available treatment options. Make sure you take the time to go through all of the possibilities with your doctor. While talking with your doctor, you might want to ask about any blood-related diseases that could affect or cause similar conditions. Many Oncologists also have certifications in Hematology, so they can answer any questions you might have about potential blood diseases that could come with or explain your conditions as well.
The most common treatment in Oncology is chemotherapy when doctors use powerful drugs to combat the growing cancer cells. There is also immunotherapy, where doctors activate and deactivate your immune system to help fight back against the disease. Sometimes the masses show as tumours that can be removed in surgery. Finally, there is radiation therapy, where doctors use concentrated exposure to radiation to combat the spread of cancer cells.
Management of Symptoms
Another major role oncologists play in the treatment of cancer covers coping with treatments and symptoms of the treatments. These treatments can be extremely taxing, both physically and mentally. Your oncologist should be ready to help you when those times come. Your oncologist can all come from the reassurance that the treatments work to encourage fighting even when things get tough.
Oncology for children is its specialty, and it’s called Pediatric Oncology. With roughly 10,000 cases of children with cancer in 2017, the Pediatric Oncology field is growing as well. Their focus is on cancers like acute lymphocytic leukemia, neuroblastoma, brain and other central nervous system tumours.
Since they are working with children, Pediatric Oncology takes slightly different approaches than it would with adults. Although they are different, pediatric oncology still uses surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplants to help cure children of their cancer.
Oncology is Aiding in the Fight Against Cancer
Cancer is a major killer worldwide, with 9.5 million deaths from cancer alone around the world in 2018. On top of that, these numbers are expected to rise to 16.4 million by 2040. Oncology is the profession we are looking to when it comes to the future of cancer treatment and helping patients battle these malicious cells.
Groups are always raising funding, like the American Association of Cancer Research, but the fight is only getting harder. With cases on the rise, our need to find a cure for cancer is growing every day.