What Is Medical Oncology?

Medical Oncology Marlton, NJ

Cancer is one of the most significant and intricate diseases one can face, requiring its own specialization in healthcare, known as oncology. While there are different branches, medical oncology focuses on each aspect of cancer: diagnosis, treatment, and management. Understanding the details of medical oncology can help introduce patients and loved ones to the process. Here is what you can expect when exploring this specialty branch.

A Comprehensive Guide to Medical Oncology

The role of a medical oncologist

Medical oncologists are involved in every stage of a patient's cancer journey. Their responsibilities include the following:

Diagnosis

Medical oncologists will review a patient's overall medical history, perform physical examinations, and order diagnostic tests. These tests include imaging scans, blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, and biopsies. They can then interpret the results, identifying the cancer's type and stage (extent).

Treatment plan construction

After diagnosis, the medical will want to move relatively quickly, as time is of the essence with a condition like cancer. They will develop a personalized treatment based on the specifics of the cancer, the patient's overall health, and treatment goals. Furthermore, constructing a plan may also involve the oncologist collaborating and coordinating treatments and medications with other healthcare professionals across the patient's care team.

Administering treatment

Medical oncologists will also oversee treatment administration, which may involve various therapies. They closely monitor the patient's responses to said treatments and make adjustments as necessary. Adjustments may be necessary as most cancer treatments have varying side effects requiring intense monitoring.

Long-term follow-ups

In addition to administering treatments, patients must schedule regular follow-up visits. These visits are crucial in ensuring the cancer does not return or is handled rapidly in the event of. The more time passes when a patient is in remission, the less frequent follow-up visits will be.

Type of therapies in medical oncology

Medical oncology encompasses various therapies targeting cancer. The term therapies does not mean meeting with a psychologist or therapist. It refers to various medications administered in various ways. They aim to control or eliminate cancer cells and prevent their growth and spread. The type administered depends on the cancer type, stage, and patient's overall health, as some are more aggressive than others. The following are the most common types of therapies in medical oncology.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is possibly one of the most thought of cancer treatments available today. It involves the oncologist administering prescription drugs intravenously (IV) orally to target the rapidly dividing cells. This therapy can be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments such as surgery or other therapies.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy aims to boost the body's immune system to help it recognize and destroy cancer cells. Like chemotherapy, the oncologist will also administer the prescription drugs through an IV. If a patient is diagnosed with melanoma, lung cancer, or bladder cancer, this type of therapy will likely be part of their treatment plan.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy earns its name because the prescription drugs used target specific proteins or genes responsible for cancer growth. It is thought to be more precise than chemotherapy, offering fewer side effects. However, the oncologist can administer this therapy orally.

Hormone therapy

Oncologists typically reserve hormone therapy for those diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer. This is because the therapy involves using prescription drugs and sometimes surgery to block or remove hormones that fuel cancer growth.

Stem cell transportation

Stem cell transportation, sometimes referred to as bone marrow transplantation, involves replacing damaged or diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells. This treatment is typically reserved for those diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma.

Palliative therapy

As most of these therapies have side effects, palliative therapy focuses on alleviating symptoms, most notably pain. As a side note, if a patient has heart failure, an oncologist may also recommend this form of therapy. The aim is to improve the quality of a patient's life, regardless of their disease.

It is important to note that a medical oncologist can combine any of these therapies to form an effective treatment plan. Some therapies require weekly appointments in-office, while others can be performed at home, only requiring check-up visits.

Furthermore, medical oncology is always evolving as cancer requires constant research until a solid cure is found. Therefore, in some cases, the oncologists may suggest trying emerging treatments still in their experimental or investigative stages. Of course, they will review what the patient can expect in great detail, and no treatment will be performed without the patient's explicit permission.

Start your fight against cancer

Medical oncology plays a vital role in cancer care. Medical oncologists are with you from the beginning of your fight with cancer to the end, no matter how it looks. If you suspect or have recently been diagnosed with cancer, do not hesitate to contact our office and schedule an appointment. Our team is here to help you through this battle every step of the way.

Request an appointment here: https://lindenbergcancer.com or call Lindenberg Cancer & Hematology Center at (856) 475-0876 for an appointment in our Marlton office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Medical Oncology in Marlton, NJ.

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