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Medical Oncology

What is Medical Oncology?
Medical Oncology is a modality of treatment in cancer care which uses Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, Hormonal Therapy and Targeted Therapy to treat cancer in an effective manner. Medical Oncology is usually works in conjunction with Surgical Oncology or Radiation Oncology to give the best clinical outcomes.
HCG’s medical oncology speciality team works towards preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer by offering the highest levels of treatment protocols and customised multi-modality therapies.
In addition to Chemotherapy, the department also runs protocols and specialises in out-patient and ambulatory chemotherapy. Our medical oncology service includes treatments for solid tumours, specialized outpatient chemotherapy with chemoports and hematological neoplasm in adults and children.
Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy works in a pattern of stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly. But it can also harm quickly dividing healthy cells, such as those that lie in the mouth and intestines or cause hair to grow. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects.
Often, side effects get better or go away after chemotherapy is over. Chemotherapy is divided into two categories Neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapies. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a type which is delivered before surgery or radiotherapy, while Adjuvant Chemotherapy is delivered after the surgery or radiotherapy. Chemotherapy may be used to destroy cancer cells that have come back (recurrent cancer) or spread to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer). Earlier, there used to be less number of chemotherapy drugs but today, we have several options of giving 1st, 2nd, and 3rd line drugs. Low dose metronomic chemotherapy is also showing some promising results.
Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a breakthrough innovation in Cancer Care. Immunotherapy is the process of activating the immune cells to fight against cancer cells it is a personalised treatment which intends to enhance the body’s defence mechanism to combat and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy uses the cells made by the patient’s own body, or treatments made in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function.
The reprogramming of the immune system in a patient’s body is done through three ways, personalised to the specific cancer condition, namely – Drug therapy, Dendritic cell therapy and Cancer Vaccines. In the first type, the drugs induced boost the antibodies to destroy cancer cells. Dendritic cell therapy involves the usage of T-cells, the cells which fight infection, are removed from the blood, later modified in laboratory and injected to the patient’s body to treat cancer cells. Cancer vaccines when injected, triggers the immune system to recognize and destroy that antigen or related materials, thus killing the cancer cells and put an end to their progress.
Targeted Therapy
Targeted therapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs and is completely different from the traditional chemotherapy. The modality known as targeted therapy helps in stopping the cancer from growing and spreading to other organs. They work in a pattern of targeting the specific genes or proteins. These genes and proteins are found in cancer cells or in other cells which could be related to cancer growth, like blood vessel cells.
Hormone Therapy
Some cancers use hormones to grow or develop, which means the cancer is hormone sensitive or hormone dependent. Hormone therapy for cancer uses medicines to block or reduce the amount of hormones in the body to stop or slow down the growth of cancer. Hormone therapy stops hormones from being developed or prevents hormones from making cancer cells grow and divide.
Cancers that can be hormone sensitive include:
  • Breast Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer (also called Endometrial Cancer)