October 2020

Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

A medical professional who practices oncology is an oncologist.

Cancer survival has improved due to three main components including improved prevention efforts to reduce exposure to risk factors (e.g., tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption), improved screening of several cancers (allowing for earlier diagnosis), and improvements in treatment.

Cancers are often managed through discussion on multi-disciplinary cancer conferences where medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and organ-specific oncologists meet to find the best possible management for an individual patient considering the physical, social, psychological, emotional, and financial status of the patient.

It is very important for oncologists to keep updated with respect to the latest advancements in oncology, as changes in the management of cancer are quite common.


The three main divisions:

Medical oncology: focuses on the treatment of cancer with chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and hormonal therapy.

Surgical oncology: focuses on the treatment of cancer with surgery.

Radiation oncology: focuses on the treatment of cancer with radiation.

Sub-specialties in Oncology:

Neuro-oncology: focuses on cancers of the brain.

Ocular oncology: focuses on cancers of the eye.

Head & Neck oncology: focuses on cancers of the oral cavity, nasal cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx.

Thoracic oncology: focuses on cancers of lung, mediastinum, esophagus, and pleura.

Breast oncology: focuses on cancers of the breast

Gastrointestinal Oncology: focuses on cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, anal canal, liver, gallbladder, pancreas.

Bone & Musculoskeletal oncology: focuses on cancers of bones and soft tissue.

Dermatological oncology: focuses on the medical and surgical treatment of skin, hair, sweat gland, and nail cancers

Genitourinary Oncology: focuses on cancers of the genital and urinary system.

Gynecologic oncology: focuses on cancers of the female reproductive system.

Pediatric oncology: concerned with the treatment of cancer in children.

Hemato oncology: focuses on cancers of blood and stem cell transplantation

Preventive oncology: focuses on epidemiology & prevention of cancer.

Geriatric oncology: focuses on cancers in the elderly population.

Pain & Palliative oncology: focuses on the treatment of end-stage cancer to help alleviate pain and suffering.

Molecular oncology: focuses on molecular diagnostic methods in oncology.

Oncopathology: A specialty of Pathology that focuses on the histopathological diagnosis of cancer.

As a significant portion of all general pathology practice is concerned with cancer, the practice of oncology is deeply tied to, and dependent upon, the work of both anatomical and clinical pathologists.

Nuclear medicine oncology: focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer with radiopharmaceuticals.

Psycho-oncology: focuses on psychosocial issues in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.

Veterinary oncology: focuses on the treatment of cancer in animals.

Progress and future

Survival of cancer has significantly improved over the past years due to improved screening, diagnostic methods, and treatment options with targeted therapy.

What is ONCOLOGY? What does ONCOLOGY mean?

Life of an Oncologist

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