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Oncology is a medical speciality that deals with prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of cancer. There are different types of cancer that may affect different parts of the body. Therefore, an oncologist may decide to specialize in a certain branch, such as in breast cancer treatment, prostate cancer treatment or oral cancer.

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 “speech”.

The three components which have improved survival in cancer are:

Prevention – by reduction of risk factors like tobacco and alcohol consumption

Early diagnosis – screening of common cancers and comprehensive diagnosis and staging

Treatment – multimodality management by discussion in tumor board and treatment in a comprehensive cancer centre

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. All eligible patients in whom cancer progresses and for whom no standard of care treatment options are available should be enrolled in a clinical trial.

Screening is recommended for cancers of breast, cervix, colon and lung.

Generally Symptoms usually depend on the site and type of cancer. 

Risk Factors

Tobacco: It is the leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer. Smoking is associated with increased risk of cancers of lung, larynx, mouth, oesophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas, colon, rectum, cervix and acute myeloid leukemia. Smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco) is associated with increased risks of cancers of the mouth, oesophagus, and pancreas.

Alcohol: It can increase your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, larynx, liver and breast. The risk of cancer is much higher for those who drink alcohol and also use tobacco.

Obesity: Obese individuals have an increased risk of cancers of breast, colon, rectum, endometrium, oesophagus, kidney, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Age: Advanced age is a risk factor for many cancers. The median age of cancer diagnosis is 66 years.

Cancer Types


Oncology Specialties

The three main divisions:

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