Minus/plus icon
ResourcesExplore the full ACKO experience and make the most of your plan

Home / Health Insurance / Articles / Medical Specialties / Oncology: The medical field that deals with cancer

Oncology: The medical field that deals with cancer

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

The human body has millions of cells, which modify themselves slowly and in a systematic way. Every single cell in the body has a complex regulating mechanism that regulates its growth, reproduction, maturity, and death. Cancer develops by abnormal cell growth, which begins with mutations in a normal cell. Cancer cells, in addition to uncontrolled growth, try to establish new blood vessels that nourish their development and resist death. Oncology involves cancer diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. The doctors who treat cancer patients are called Oncologists. Through this article, we will look at various kinds of oncology practitioners, common and rare symptoms of cancer, and how cancer is diagnosed and treated.




What is Oncology?

Oncology refers to a field of medicine that focuses on cancer diagnosis and treatment. Both cancer diagnosis and treatment are challenging. Treating cancer requires the expertise and skills of various medical and health specialists. 

An Oncologist specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Oncologists will help diagnose your cancer, evaluate methods of treatment, explain the benefits and complications of each treatment option, and supervise your treatment and post-treatment care.

Types of Oncology

Oncology is divided into different areas based on treatments. They include the following.

  • Medical Oncology: It is the application of chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and different medications to treat cancer.

  • Radiation Oncology: It is the administration of radiation therapy, which is the application of high-energy X-rays or other elements to kill the cancer cells.

  • Surgical Oncology: This is the implementation of surgery and additional treatments to cure cancer. Surgical Oncology includes the removal of the tumour and surrounding tissue during surgery. A small piece of the tumour and the surrounding tissues are then sent for biopsies to help in the diagnosis of cancer.

  • Geriatric Oncology: It works on cancer patients aged 65 and over. Since older people may have other problems. Geriatric Oncology delivers the finest care for the elderly.

  • Gynaecological Oncology: It deals with the treatment of cancers of the reproductive organs, such as the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina, and vulva.

  • Haematological-oncology: This specialty addresses blood malignancies, including leukaemia, myeloma, and lymphoma.

  • Neurological-Oncology: It is a branch of oncology that treats tumours of the brain, spine, and nervous system. This department's doctors are also specialised in providing expert care to individuals suffering from neurological problems caused by cancer or cancer treatments.

  • Paediatric Oncology: It is the study and treatment of cancer in children and adolescents. Paediatric Oncologists undergo education and training in both paediatrics and Oncology. Cancers that originate in youngsters are usually different from malignancies that develop in adults.

  • Thoracic Oncology: It deals with intra-thoracic cancers, or cancers of the chest, and covers diseases such as esophageal cancer, small cell and non-small cell lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

  • Urological Oncology: It is the study and treatment of malignancies of the urinary tracts, as well as the male reproductive organs. The organs include the bladder, kidneys, prostate, penis, and testicles. Urological malignancies are relatively prevalent, including prostate, bladder, and kidney cancers.

What is the role of an Oncologist?

An Oncologist monitors a patient's healthcare all through the disease's progression. The responsibilities include the following.

  • Diagnosing the disease

  • Tests to establish whether a person has cancer

  • Determining the type and stage of the disease

  • Appraise you for all treatment options and treatment preferences

  • Providing empathetic and excellent healthcare

  • Help you deal with the symptoms and side effects

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, their treatment may include an array of strategies such as surgery, cancer medicines, and/or radiation therapy. This means that various types of Oncologists and other healthcare providers team up together to develop an entire treatment method for the patient. This is referred to as a multidisciplinary team. This team may include the following healthcare providers.

  • Pathologists

  • Radiologists

  • Physician assistants

  • Nurses

  • Oncology nurses

  • Social workers, and

  • Pharmacists

What is a tumour board?

A tumour board is a group of medical professionals from several fields of cancer research who collaborate to determine the most effective treatment strategy. Medical Oncologists, surgical Oncologists, and Radiation Oncologists are the members of the tumour board. Other professionals can get involved on the board as well. Members of the tumour board can provide a variety of insights that might help you receive the most effective treatment. 

Different forms of treatment under Oncology

Oncology, or cancer treatment, has progressed enormously over the course of time, with new techniques being added on a regular basis. When discussing treatment, one of the most crucial elements to consider is the therapeutic goal. Following are the different forms of treatment.

1. Surgery

A surgical procedure includes the removal of the tumour and any other malignant tissues from the body. In certain cases, surgery is combined with other treatments, depending on the severity and type of cancer.

2. Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is used in various ways. It may be used before surgery to minimise the size of a tumour or after surgery to lower the probability of recurrence. Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), or cyberknife, is a type of specialised radiation therapy that is occasionally used as an alternative to surgery. It involves administering high doses of radiation to a small area of tissue to destroy the rapidly growing cancer cells. It is generally used to treat metastases from various tumours.

3. Chemotherapy

This procedure involves employing powerful chemicals to destroy the rapidly growing cells and prevent tumour growth. It uses cytotoxic drugs that effectively kill the rapidly dividing cells. It is usually given intravenously, and it has many side effects like hair fall, changes in the taste buds, mouth sores, etc.

4. Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy may include the use of artificial hormones or medicines to inhibit the functioning of the body's natural hormones. It prevents the flow of hormones to the damaged tissues, depriving the cancer of the nutrients it needs to flourish. This therapy has side effects as well. Certain medications may completely inhibit the production of natural hormones.

5. Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment for cancer that attacks proteins that stimulate how cancer cells develop, multiply, and disseminate. Following are the ways targeted therapy works in destroying cancerous cells.

  • Support the immune system in eliminating cancer cells.

  • Stop cancer cells from developing by disrupting the signals that trigger them to proliferate and divide erratically.

  • Inhibits the signals that help in the formation of blood vessels.

  • Supply cell-killing chemicals to the cancer cells.

  • Make cancer cells die.

  • Make the cancer cells starve of the hormones they need to flourish.

6. Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy comes in numerous forms, including immune checkpoint inhibitors, cancer vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, CAR T-cell treatment, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions on Oncology.


What do you understand by the term Oncology?

Oncology is the field of medicine that involves cancer diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. The doctors who treat cancer patients are called Oncologists.

How many types of Oncology are there?

Oncology is divided into different areas based on treatments. They may include Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Geriatric Oncology, Gynaecological Oncology, Haematological-Oncology, Neurological-Oncology, Paediatric Oncology, etc.

What are the warning signs of cancer?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms for more than a few weeks, visit your doctor right away.

  • Unintended weight loss

  • Fever

  • Changes in bowel habits or bladder function

  • Changes in skin tone

  • Exhaustion and weakness

  • Pain

  • Unusual bleeding or discharge


 Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


Want to post any comments?


Protect your health with our comprehensive disease 🦠 coverage

✅ 100% Room Rent Covered* ✅ Zero deductions at claims ✅ 7100+ Cashless Hospitals

quote icon

Check health insurance

quote icon