Medical Oncology is the branch of Oncology that involves the use of drugs to destroy rapidly growing cancer cells. The doctors dealing with Medical Oncology are called Medical Oncologists. As Cancer is a complex disease, its treatment often requires a mix of therapies - medical, radiation, and surgical - along with lifestyle changes.

Surgical oncology is the branch of surgery applied to oncology. This focuses on the surgical management of tumors, especially cancerous tumors. They focus on surgical interventions to diagnose and stage cancer, relieve its symptoms, and prevent its spreading or recurrence. It also focuses on surgeries to control pain, increase a patient's comfort level, and manage cancer-related symptoms (palliative surgeries).

Based on your type and stage of cancer, your medical oncologist may suggest one or a few of these options:

  • Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or keep them from spreading. Different classes of Chemotherapy agents act in different manners from patient to patient. Some kinds of chemotherapy may slow the growth of cancer cells, and keep them from spreading to other parts of the body. It may be used with radiation to help shrink the tumor before surgery. It may also be used after surgery or radiation to destroy remnant cancer cells. The medical oncology team has expertise in the use of systemic treatment including chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, as well as the latest biological and targeted treatments for solid tumors.
  • Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that uses the body's immune system to prevent, control, and eliminate cancer. This type of treatment allows our immune system to fight cancer during which immunity is boosted. In a healthy human being, the immune system prevents the growth of various kinds of cancer by finding and destroying abnormal cells. For example - The cells of the immune system are found inside or around tumors in the body which means that the immune system is affecting the tumor. These immune system cells are called TILs or Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. People whose tumors have these cells do better than those compared to who don't have them. Types of immunotherapies include Immune checkpoint inhibitors, T-cell transfer therapy, Monoclonal antibodies, etc.
  • Hormone therapy uses drugs to block the improper activity of certain hormones. Hormones are the body's natural chemical messengers. They travel throughout the body to regulate the activity and behavior of cells and organs. Hormone therapy works in two basic ways, it either prevents the production of abnormal hormones that can cause cancer or alters the actions of the hormones. This therapy can involve the use of synthetic hormones or drugs to disrupt the action of the body's natural hormones. It stops the flood of hormones to the affected tissues and deprives the cancer of what it needs to grow. Some drugs stop the production of natural hormones altogether. This also stops or slows the growth of cancer.
  • Targeted therapy uses drugs to interact with cancer cells by targeting the molecules involved in cancer growth or spread. It is a precise method of fighting cancer with drugs. Instead of acting on all rapidly dividing cells - both cancerous and normal - targeted therapies seek out specific molecular targets on the cells. Rather than killing the cells, these drugs interact with them to block their growth and spread.

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