Medical Oncology

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Medical Oncology serves as the cornerstone of cancer treatment, employing a comprehensive array of systemic therapies to combat malignant diseases. This specialised field focuses on the diagnosis, management, and treatment of cancer using medications such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and hormonal therapy Medical Oncology encompasses the diagnosis and treatment of cancer through systemic therapies that target cancer cells throughout the body. Unlike surgery and radiation therapy, which focus on localised disease, medical oncologists address both primary tumours and metastatic disease, utilising medications that circulate through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells wherever they may reside. This approach allows for the treatment of cancers that have spread to distant organs or tissues, as well as those that are confined to a specific site.

Key Modalities and Therapies:

Medical Oncology employs a diverse range of modalities and therapies to effectively combat cancer, tailored to each patient's unique tumour type, stage, and molecular profile. Some of the key modalities include:

  1. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of cytotoxic drugs to kill rapidly dividing cancer cells or inhibit their growth. These drugs may be administered orally or intravenously and can target various stages of the cell cycle. While chemotherapy is associated with side effects due to its nonspecific nature, advances in drug delivery and supportive care have significantly improved tolerability and efficacy.
  2. Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy focuses on specific molecular alterations that drive cancer growth, such as mutations or overexpression of certain proteins. Targeted therapies have revolutionized the treatment of many cancers, including breast cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma.
  3. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy harnesses the body's immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. These therapies, which include immune checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell therapies, and cancer vaccines, work by enhancing immune responses or overcoming mechanisms of immune evasion employed by cancer cells.
  4. Hormonal Therapy: Hormonal therapy is used to treat hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer, by blocking hormone receptors or reducing hormone production. These therapies can slow or halt cancer growth by depriving tumour cells of the hormones they need to proliferate, offering a targeted and well-tolerated approach for certain malignancies.

Multidisciplinary Collaboration:

Medical Oncology operates within a multidisciplinary framework, collaborating closely with surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and other healthcare professionals to develop individualised treatment plans for each patient. This collaborative approach ensures that patients receive integrated, holistic care that addresses the complex medical, emotional, and supportive needs associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Innovations and Advances:

The field of Medical Oncology is characterised by ongoing innovation and scientific discovery, driving the development of novel therapeutic strategies and personalised treatment approaches.

Patient-Centred Care:

At the core of Medical Oncology is a commitment to patient-centred care, ensuring that patients receive compassionate support, education, and guidance throughout their cancer journey. Medical oncologists and their teams work collaboratively with patients to develop treatment plans that align with their goals, preferences, and values, while also addressing their physical, emotional, and psychosocial needs. Additionally, survivorship programs and supportive care services are offered to help patients navigate the challenges of cancer treatment and promote overall well-being and quality of life.

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