Medical oncology is a catch-all term that refers to any branch of cancer treatment that involves the use of external agents, such as drugs or infusions to treat the disease.
Cochise Oncology, for instance, offers chemotherapy. During this treatment, oncologists introduce chemicals to the body that kill cancer cells.
Medical oncology also includes immunotherapy (sometimes called immuno-oncology) that uses medications designed to enhance the body’s immune response, allowing it to better fight cancer.
Finally, Cochise Oncology also offers infusion services which involve providing the body with nutrients and fluids that it needs via a catheter or needle.
The role of oncologists is to first diagnose cancer and then recommend treatment based on their findings. To this end, physicians at Cochise Oncology will invite patients for PET scanning, ultrasounds, MRI and CT scanning, endoscopy, or biopsy – techniques that allow them to characterize the nature of the disease.
Oncologists will then determine a suitable course of treatment for patients, depending on the “stage” of the disease, with stage I being the earliest, and stage IV being the latest.
In most cases, oncologists will recommend chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both. In some cases, advanced treatments such as monoclonal antibody treatment, immunotherapies, or vaccines might be available. Palliative oncologists use therapies to manage the disease instead of trying to eliminate it to provide patients with as much comfort as possible.