Medical oncology is a division of oncology that deals with cancer prevention and treatment using chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or in combination.Vast research in the field of cancer has led to a drastic change in the current day management of blood and solid organ cancers. This has led to an increased role of medical oncology in early and localized cancer along with other modalities like surgery and radiation therapy. The advancement in molecular research has resulted in the individualization of cancer treatment based on the molecular information.
Terms in medical oncology
Neoadjuvant therapy: therapy which is given prior to surgery / Radiation therapy. Adjuvant therapy: therapy given in localized tumors after surgery/radiation therapy. The intent of this therapy is to decrease relapse.
Palliative therapy: cancers that are not amenable to complete cure due to various reasons are offered palliative therapy. The intent of the therapy is to reduce the symptoms and control the disease.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a different class of drug which kills fast-growing cancer cells.
Here we use treatments that increase the immunogenicity of the body against tumors to fight cancer. Some cancers like melanoma, lung cancer, renal cell cancer, head and neck cancer, etc have found to have a very good response to immunotherapy.
Targeted therapy :
Cells undergo mutation resulting in uncontrolled growth leading to cancer. recent advancement in genomics has resulted in the discovery of many such mutations in various cancers. the drugs that target those mutations or proteins or genes which support cancer growth, result in blocking or reducing cancer growth, such therapy is called targeted therapy. Targeted therapy includes many oral drugs resulting in easy administration. Its action is different from chemotherapy, it does not have to affect normal cells to the extent of chemotherapy, resulting in decreased side effects.
Hormonal therapy :
some cancers are dependent on hormones for their growth. hormonal therapy helps in reducing cancer growth by reducing these hormones. Hormone-positive breast cancer, prostate cancer, and uterine cancer are a few hormone-sensitive tumors.