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Medical Oncology

Medical oncology involves the administration of certain drugs and medicines to prevent the multiplication of cancerous cells, also to destroy the existing cancer cells.

Medical oncology involves the administration of certain drugs and medicines to prevent the multiplication of cancerous cells, also to destroy the existing cancer cells. Medical oncologists understand the patient’s clinical condition, plan his treatment accordingly and manage the entire course of chemotherapy which will be given for several weeks, months or years. In medical oncology, the drugs can be administrated using one or more of the following -

  • Conventional Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy is a combination of two words; ‘chemo’ that means chemical or medicine and ‘therapy’ that is treatment. Hence, chemotherapy is a treatment given by medicines or drugs. These drugs can be used alone or in combinations to treat wide variety of cancers. The administration of these drugs can be done in various ways like intravenous infusion, oral pills, injections. Chemotherapy can be given at different stages of treatment.
  1. - It can be used as the primary treatment to cure the cancer. (curative intent)
  2. - Chemotherapy can be given as a preparation for the other treatment, for example  before the surgery or radiation to shrink the size of the tumour. This is known as neoadjuvant  therapy.
  3. - It can also be given after the radiation of surgery to destroy the residual cancer cells.   (adjuvant therapy)
  4. - It can be given as a palliative treatment to relieve the signs and symptoms of the  cancer and improve quality of life as well as prolong survival. (palliative)

Most of the chemotherapy today are given in daycare centre of the hospital, managed by expert team of the oncologists and well trained nursing staff who provide close monitoring.

With the advancement of research and technology, there are other modalities available for more efficient and precise treatment for cancer as compared to conventional chemotherapy.

  • Immunotherapy - It is a type of cancer treatment that increases the ability of immune system of the body to fight against cancer. It is a type of biological therapy, that means it uses the substances made from living organisms to treat cancer.
  • Targeted Therapy - Targeted therapy is a treatment of cancer that precisely identifies and attacks the certain types of cancer cells. It targets proteins that control the growth and spread of cancer cells.
  • Hormonal Therapy - Some cancer cells use body’s natural hormones for their growth. The hormonal therapy is given to remove, block or to add the specific hormones in order to either slow down or stop the growth of the cancer especially breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Immunotherapy, Hormone Therapy and Targeted Therapy are advantageous over the standard chemotherapy by being more specific to the dangerous cells, and hence causes minimum side effects and risk to the patient’s health.

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