Oncology is a branch of medicine that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Cancer is a group of diseases that occur due to unchecked abnormal growth of body’s cells which spread later making the immune system so weak that it is impossible to fight back. It is estimated that each year 150,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed in Pakistan. It includes medical oncology (the use of chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and other drugs to treat cancer), radiation oncology (the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer), and surgical oncology (the use of surgery and other procedures to treat cancer).
The field of oncology has three major areas:
• Medical oncologist
• surgical oncologist
• Radiation oncologist
• Gynecologic oncologist
• Pediatric oncologist
An oncologist manages a patient’s care throughout the course of the disease. This starts with the diagnosis. His or her role includes:
• Explaining the cancer diagnosis and stage
• Talking about all treatment options and his or her preferred choice
• Delivering quality and compassionate care
• Helping a patient manage the symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.