Oncology (Salem Health: Cancer)
Subspecialties: Biochemistry, radiology, radiation and cancer biology, radiation physics, chemotherapy, genetics, surgery, hematology
Cancers treated: All
Training and certification: Several subspecialties exist under the broad umbrella term “oncologist.” Minimally, those pursuing oncological training and certification must possess a recognized medical degree or, in the case of oncological nurses, must be registered nurses.
Among the basic fields in which oncologists practice is surgical oncology, in which board-certified surgeons take special training in biopsy, tumor staging, and tumor resection or removal by surgical means. Another distinct field is pediatric oncology and hematology, in which board-certified pediatricians take special training that focuses on various malignancies frequently found in babies or in children. Medical oncology is a field that attracts internists who complete special oncological training. Yet another field is radiation oncology, which is staffed by radiologists who complete special training directed toward the radiological diagnosis and treatment of malignancies. Gynecological oncology is studied by board-certified gynecologists and obstetricians, while board-certified hematologists may continue their studies with an emphasis on cancers of the blood, such as leukemia.
Specific training in oncology usually involves a residency of two...
(The entire section is 1543 words.)
For Further Information (Salem Health: Cancer)
De Vito, Vincent T., Samuel Hellman, and Steven A. Rosenberg, eds. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2005.
Langhorne, Martha E., Janet S. Fulton, and Shirley E. Otto, eds. Oncological Nursing. 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier, 2007.
Leibel, Steven A. Textbook of Radiation Oncology. 2d ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2004.
Pappas, Alberto S., ed. Pediatric Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcomas. New York: Springer, 2006.
Parker, Robert G. Radiation Oncology for Cure and Palliation. New York: Springer, 2003.
Pazdur, Richard, ed. Medical Oncology: A Comprehensive Overview. Huntington, N.Y.: PRR, 1995.
Pollock, Raphael E., ed. Surgical Oncology. Boston: Kluwer Academic Press, 1997.
Rizzo, Phillip A., and David G. Poplack, eds. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2002.
Tomlinson, Deborah, and Nancy E. Kline, eds. Pediatric Oncology Nursing: Advanced Clinical Handbook. New York: Springer, 2005.
Vasilev, Steven A., ed. Perioperative and Supportive Care in Gynelogic Oncology: Evidence-Based Management. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2000.
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Organizations and Professional Societies (Salem Health: Cancer)
American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). http://www.abim.org, 613 New York Ranch Road, Jackson, CA 95642.
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG). http://www.abog.org, 2915 Vine Street, Dallas Texas, 75204.
American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). https://www.abp.org/ABPWebSite/, 111 Silver Cedar Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
American Board of Radiology (ABR). http://www.theabr.org/index.htm, 5441 East Williams Boulevard, Suite 200, Tucson, AZ 85711.
American Board of Surgery (ABS). http://www.absurgery.org, 1617 John F. Kennedy Boulevard #860, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO). http://www.astro.org, Post Office Box 631567, Baltimore, MD 21263.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. http://www.asco.org, 1900 Duke Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314.
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Science and Profession (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Oncology is the scientific study and treatment of cancers, tumors, and other abnormal tissue growths. This field is an important part of medical science because of the prevalence of cancer within the human population, particularly in the progressively older populations of Western societies, in which people enjoy life-prolonging medical advances. Cancer ranks second only to heart disease as a killer of people in Western nations. Its victims number in the hundreds of thousands each year.
The study of cancer and its various physiological manifestations involves an understanding of several diverse biological disciplines, including genetics, developmental biology, embryology, neurology, endocrinology, and general physiology. The oncologist must synthesize information from these scientific fields in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating the disease. The oncologist works closely with the cancer patient’s physician, surgeons, laboratory technicians, radiation therapists and chemotherapists, and pharmacists in treating cancerous tumors.
A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells within a specific tissue or organ beyond that tissue or organ’s normal developmental pattern. Tumors may be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are noninvasive; benign tumor cells multiply more rapidly than normal cells within a single, localized region that grows larger and larger. A benign tumor does not spread to other body regions. A...
(The entire section is 582 words.)
Diagnostic and Treatment Techniques (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Oncologists must confront a variety of cancers that affect many different tissues. The six most common cancers affecting American women are breast, colon, lung, uterine, ovarian, and lymphatic cancers, whereas the five most prevalent cancers affecting American men are prostate, lung, colon, bladder, and lymphatic cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Oncologists must identify and treat these tumors as rapidly and as efficiently as possible.
The successful treatment of cancer begins with its early detection. The classic seven warning signs of cancer are a sore that does not heal, a lump on the body, a persistent cough, difficulty in swallowing, unusual bleeding, a change in a wart or mole, and a change in bladder or bowel movements. The presence of cancer in a patient can be identified by an oncologist by means of several techniques, including cytological (cellular) analysis, biopsy, and direct observation. Cytological techniques employ the microscopic examination of discarded cells from the suspected cancerous region. Biopsy involves the surgical removal of suspected cancerous tissue from an individual and the subsequent chemical and microscopic analysis of the removed tissue cells. Cancer cells are morphologically and chemically distinct from normal body cells.
Cancerous cell masses can be directly observed within the body by means of probing tubes that contain fiber-optic imaging...
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Perspective and Prospects (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Cancer is an increasing problem in Western societies, where medical science is increasing longevity and where industry and business place extraordinary levels of stress upon individuals. Most theories of aging maintain that accumulated genetic mutations in somatic cells during organismal development contribute to the breakdown of body systems, particularly the immune system. Aging is contained for much of an individual’s life. Aging accelerates, however, following the end of an individual’s period of reproduction. Although cancer can occur at any age, its probability of occurrence accelerates with aging.
Cancer cells are present in the bodies of all humans. Out of approximately 1,000 trillion cells within the human body, it is inevitable that mistakes will occur frequently within the gene regulation mechanisms of certain cells. Humans and other life-forms are exposed continuously to radiation and carcinogenic chemicals of varying types. A critical gene within a critical cell eventually will mutate so that the cell follows a cancerous pathway.
A healthy person with a strong immune system, however, quickly will destroy these mutated, transformed cancers. Individuals having weakened immune systems as a result of stress, aging, illness, and so forth are more susceptible to cancer because the mutated cells have the opportunity to multiply and spread rapidly throughout the body before the person’s immune...
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For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Alberts, Bruce, et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5th ed. New York: Garland, 2008. Leading molecular biologists collaborated to produce this valuable textbook describing the genetics, biochemistry, and developmental biology of eukaryotic cells. Discusses tumorigenesis, cancer cells, and viral-induced cancers. Numerous other chapters are devoted to gene regulation and hormones.
Dollinger, Malin, et al. Everyone’s Guide to Cancer Therapy. 5th ed. Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel, 2008. An excellent source of medical information about cancer, written for the general public. Describes various cancer sites in the body. Includes a helpful glossary of medical terminology.
Eyre, Harmon J., Dianne Partie Lange, and Lois B. Morris. Informed Decisions: The Complete Book of Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery. 2d ed. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, 2002. This text from the American Cancer Society is intended for the layperson. It is exemplary in its discussion of cancer.
Harnett, Paul, John Cartmill, and Paul Glare, eds. Oncology: A Case-Based Manual. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. More than eighty cases are used to illustrate and discuss management of patients with cancer. The editors introduce this slim text with an emphasis on data that the practicing physician should know but might have difficulty finding elsewhere in a digestible form.
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