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What is Medical Oncology?

Oncology is a branch of science that deals with the study of cancer. It is concerned with:

  • The diagnosis of cancer in a person
  • Therapy to be used for treatment
  • Follow-up of cancer patients during and after treatments
  • Palliative care of patients with terminal cancer
  • Screening efforts of cancer

What is Medical Oncology?

Medical Oncology is a sub-specialty of oncology that focuses on treatment of all types of cancers. Treatment under medical oncology is primarily undertaken with drugs i.e. chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy.

How is Medical Oncology different from other branches of Oncology?

Medical Oncology is one of the most common types of oncology that majorly deals with the treatment of solid tumor. On the other hand, Hematology deals with the treatment of malignancies and blood disorders. Radiation and Surgical Oncology, though similar to Medical Oncology, deal with the removal of tumor through radiation process and surgery respectively.

Who are Medical Oncologists?

Medical oncologists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer (solid tumors) with pharmacotherapy or in conjunction with a surgical or radiation oncologist.

Role of a Medical Oncologist

A medical oncologist is responsible for the overall health and care of a cancer patient. A medical oncologist’s role includes the following:

  • Explaining the cancer type, its diagnosis and stage. This involves a description of where the cancer is located, where it has spread and whether it is affecting other parts of the body or not, to the patient.
  • Discussing all possible treatment options and recommending the best course of action.
  • Delivering high-quality care to the patient.
  • Helping maintain the patient’s overall health by managing cancer-related pain and treating the side effects of chemotherapy.

 

A medical oncologist is generally backed by a multidisciplinary team which specializes in different areas of oncology.

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