Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. A medical professional who practices oncology is an oncologist. The name’s etymological origin is the Greek word ὄγκος (ónkos), meaning “tumor”, “volume” or “mass” and the word λόγος (logos), meaning “study”.
Cancer survival has improved due to three main components including improved prevention efforts to reduce exposure to risk factors (e.g., tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption), improved screening of several cancers (allowing for earlier diagnosis), and improvements in treatment.
Cancers are often managed through discussion on multi-disciplinary cancer conferences where medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and organ specific oncologists meet to find the best possible management for an individual patient considering the physical, social, psychological, emotional, and financial status of the patient. It is very important for oncologists to keep updated with respect to the latest advancements in oncology, as changes in management of cancer are quite common.
Diagnostic and staging investigations depend on the site and type of malignancy.
Blood investigations including hemoglobin, total leukocyte count, platelet count, peripheral smear, red cell indices.
Excision biopsy of lymph node for histopathological examination, immunohistochemistry, and molecular studies.
Blood investigations include lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), serum uric acid, and kidney function tests.
Imaging tests such as computerised tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET CT).
Bone marrow biopsy.
Biopsy for histopathology and immunohistochemistry.