Prevention - Diagnostics - Therapy - Active follow-up care
Oncology is the medical discipline that deals with the disease of cancer and its associated problems. It includes the following activities:
- Active follow-up care
Medical oncology treats malignant cancers and tumors with drug therapies, such as chemotherapy, hormone and/or anti-hormone treatment, immunotherapy with cytokines (chemical messengers in the body), the use of antibodies, and recently the latest innovations in molecular therapy which uses small molecules to intervene in the tumor's internal signaling system and thus control cell growth.
In addition to these drug-based treatment options, many systemic cancer treatments affecting the whole body such as chemotherapy can also be supplemented by localized methods such as thermal ablation.
This treatment is then actively followed up where patients are systematically examined (through mammography, ultrasound, physical exam, etc.) in a number of required follow-up visits after the tumor has been completely removed. This helps to provide early detection of recurring cancers or negative effects of the therapy.
The active part of the follow-up process refers to the patient's own internal activity to focus on helping one's self and to make one's own contribution to further recovery and healing.
The idea that one's own efforts in coping with or fighting the disease can improve the chances of victory and recovery is common among many patients and their families. This has recently been termed “patient competency”.