Combating diseases is not any easy task. It may take decades before a cure can be created which helps to eradicate the disease from its roots. Cancer is one of such disease, which is considered to be deadly for human life. After years of research, doctors have been able to find solutions for the disease but only when it is at its initial stages. Treating cancer at a much later stage is next to impossible. However, research continues to find a cure for the disease.
Oncology is a branch of medicine which involves studying various kinds of cancer. A doctor who treats cancer is known as an Oncologist. Becoming an oncologist in India requires years of practice and dedication.
An oncologist has three major types in terms of treatment provided:
1. Medical Oncologist:
A medical oncologist tries to treat cancer using various methods like Chemotherapy or through other medications which may prove effective for the patient. It includes:
Targeted therapy – It involves treating specific genes which lead to cancer growth in a healthy body. Under this type of treatment, drugs which stop the cancer cells from growing further are given to a patient. Breast and lung cancers can be treated through this method.
Immunotherapy — It’s another type of treatment which involves giving certain medicines to a patient which helps in boosting his/her immune system. It further helps in stopping cancer spread to other areas of the body. It acts as a form of Cancer Vaccine which can stop growth of cancer cells.
2. Surgical Oncologist:
A surgical oncologist uses surgical methods of removing the tissue area which has been affected by cancer. He/she can also remove the surrounding tissue area in order to stop cancer from spreading to other areas of body. A surgical oncologist can also perform a biopsy in order to identify whether the patient is suffering from cancer or not. The oncologist removes a part of the tissue to test it for cancer.
3. Radiation Oncologist:
A radiation oncologist uses powerful X-rays and other form of particles in order to slow down the growth of cancer cells in the body. It may be used either to destroy the cancer causing cells completely or to slow down its growth. This form of treatment can be used individually or in combination with other methods like chemotherapy or surgery.
There are other types of Oncologists which are divided on the basis of various types of cancer they treat:
1. Gynaecologic Oncologist:
This type of oncologist treats Gynaecologic cancers which means cancer of female reproductive system i.e. ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and vaginal cancer etc. Various methods are used to treat such type of cancer effectively.
2. Paediatric Oncologist:
A paediatric oncologist diagnoses and treats cancer in children. Certain types of cancer specifically affect children like cancer of bone and blood. A paediatric oncologist has a responsibility of treating children in such a way which they feel safe and relaxed.
3. Haematologist oncologist:
Such type of oncologists is responsible for diagnosing and treating blood cancer in patients. There are three types of blood cancer namely leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer where a lot of unnecessary white blood cells are created by the body which further affects the production of red blood cells.
Lymphoma is another type of blood cancer which happens due to presence of an abnormal white blood cell in the body which generally helps in fighting with diseases.
Myeloma is caused when a group of plasma cells in bone marrow turn into cancer causing cells and further continues to reproduce. This can severely affect the bones and liver of the body.
An oncologist has to treat different types of cancer affecting different organs of a body namely:
- Skin cancer
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
Due to increase in cases, complexities and types of cancer, it is becoming more and more difficult for oncologist to treat and even diagnose cancer. Oncologists have to take the help of certain other doctors like a Dermatologist or Gynaecologist —in order to cure cancer properly. It is the duty of an oncologist to consult other doctors and suggest a combination of treatment options to cure the patient completely.