Oncology is the medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of cancer patients. There are several sub-specialties:
- medical oncology (coordination of care and use of chemotherapy agents);
- oncology radiotherapy (or radiation oncology);
- Hemato-oncology, for blood cancers more specifically.
Moreover, since cancers can affect all organs and systems of the body, there are specialized oncologists in certain types of cancer. Cirons, particularly oncologists in gynecology, urology, gastrology, neurology, etc.
Oncology is a specialty in constant evolution, especially because of the arrival of personalized treatments. Sheba Hospital is one of the best oncology centers.
When to consult an oncologist?
The oncologist treats cancers. Every year in France, approximately 355,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed (191,000 in Canada). Among the most frequent in France, we noted:
- the prostate cancer (1st row of cancers in humans);
- the breast cancer (1st among cancers in women);
- colon cancer (colorectal cancer);
- the lung cancer ;
- but also, blood cancers ( leukemia , lymphoma, myeloma …), digestive system (stomach, esophagus, tongue …), brain, skin, or bones.
Although cancer can affect everyone at any age, including childhood, there are some known risk factors for cancer.
- genetic factors, especially for breast or colon cancer;
- tobacco consumption;
- chronic exposure to radiation (UV, X-rays …) or to certain substances (asbestos, chemicals, pesticides …);
- aging (being over 60 years old);
- certain viruses (cancer of the cervix, stomach cancer, liver cancer …)
What does the oncologist do?
The role of the medical oncologist is to oversee and coordinate the overall care of a cancer patient. He must also:
- prescribe the treatment;
- evaluate drug tolerance and adjust doses of chemotherapy;
- Monitor the evolution of cancer.
It should be noted that in end-of-life patients, the oncologist also participates in palliative care.
Most often, the patient is referred to an oncologist if there is a suspicion of cancer or after the diagnosis of a tumor by medical imaging.
Depending on the course of the disease and the treatment, the oncologist may have to prescribe imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an MRI, to perform a biopsy (removal of the suspect lesion for biological analysis) etc.