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Oncology is a branch of medicine specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It also researches the occurrence and risk factors of cancer, statistics about cancer and ways of prevention. Oncologists are doctors who specialize in oncology. Cancer diagnosis, staging, treatment and care of the patient are followed by oncologists. Oncology is a constantly changing and evolving field of medicine. Research continues on many subjects such as cancer cell biology, chemotherapy treatment methods, the most appropriate palliative care and pain treatment.

What is oncology?

“ oncos ” which means lump, mass and tumor in Greek ; The term oncology, which is a combination of the words “logos”, which means science and field of study, literally refers to a specialty related to tumors. Oncology has sub-branches such as preventive oncology , medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology and palliative care.

Medical (medical) oncology

Medical oncology is an oncology approach that uses many therapeutic interventions such as chemotherapy , hormone therapy, and immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer. Each stage of cancer is the subject of medical oncology.

Radiation oncology

radiotherapy ( radiation therapy ), is an approach to cancer treatment that uses high-energy radiation focused on destroying cancer cells or stopping their growth.

What diseases does oncology treat?

Oncology manages the diagnosis, treatment and care process of all types of cancer. Among the important diseases in the field of oncology, breast , lung , skin , stomach , bladder , thyroid cancers, gynecological, hematological and colorectal cancers and brain tumors can be counted.

Symptoms of oncological diseases

Common symptoms that indicate cancer;

  • Tiredness,
  • weight loss,
  • unexplained anemia ,
  • Unknown fever or pain
  • A new bump
  • mass or swelling,
  • Variation in toilet habits, blood in stool
  • non-healing wound,
  • unusual bleeding,
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • A new mole in the body or a change in shape in the old mole,
  • Persistent cough and hoarseness.

How is an oncology examination done?

One of the important diagnostic tools of oncology is the clinical history of the patient. The oncologist may perform a physical examination and order diagnostic blood and urinalysis, radiological and pathological tests to look for signs and symptoms and find abnormalities that may indicate cancer.

Oncology tests

Biopsy (taking a piece of tumor tissue and examining it under a microscope) is the diagnostic test that oncology often resorts to. Blood tests for biomarkers or tumor markers are commonly used in oncology. Elevation of tumor markers in the blood may indicate cancer. Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy, radiological imaging studies and nuclear medicine techniques are also among the oncology diagnostic tools.

Imaging tests

  • Endoscopy
  • x-ray
  • CT (Computed Tomography) scan
  • MRI
  • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scan
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans
  • scintigraphy
  • Nuclear medicine techniques
  • bone scans
  • Ultrasound and other radiological techniques

What types of tests do oncology departments do?

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A complete blood count measures the amount of blood cell types in the blood. It helps diagnose certain blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma . It can show whether the cancer has spread to the bone marrow, whether the patient’s body can handle the treatment.

Cancer cells, proteins or other substances produced by cancer can be observed in blood samples. It also gives an idea about how well the organs work and whether they are affected by cancer.

  • CT (Computed tomography) Scan

A CT scan creates detailed, three-dimensional images of the body’s internal structures using x-rays taken from different angles. Tomography helps with the diagnosis of cancer , its stage, treatment plan, process and patient follow-up. Sometimes a special dye, called a contrast agent, is given to the body before scanning to obtain more detailed images.

  • Biopsy

Your doctor may order a biopsy if anything suspicious is found on a physical exam or other test results. During the biopsy, a tissue sample is taken from the tumor surgically or with a needle. The sample is examined by a pathologist . If the microscopic and biochemical properties of the tissue are characteristic of a particular cancer type, the diagnosis can be made. Biopsy is often the main diagnostic tool in determining the type of cancer.

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