Oncologic surgery is a large, and often misunderstood, subject that requires an in-depth understanding of the different specialities within the field. From paediatric oncology to radiation oncology, let’s take a moment to clarify the term ‘oncology’ and exactly what it consists of.
Simply put, oncology is the study of cancer. And an oncologist is a doctor who treats cancer. Generally, once a person is diagnosed with cancer, an oncologist will proceed with managing then person’s care and treatment.
Where most people become unstuck is in understanding the three different areas of oncology and how they operate. The field of oncology consist of medical, surgical, and radiation:
There are many other specialty areas within oncology, which include:
A gynaecologic oncologist treats gynaecological cancers, such as uterine cancer and cervical cancer.
Some types of cancer occur most often, but not only, in children and teenagers. These include certain brain tumours, leukaemia, osteosarcoma, and Ewing’s sarcoma. In these cases, an adult may decide to work with a paediatric oncologist, due to their expertise and knowledge.
A haematologist-oncologist diagnoses and treats blood cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
When it is determined cancer may be present, further tests may include:
- CT Scan: An x-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of your organs. You may receive a dye or other contrast material to highlight areas inside the body. The purpose of using a contrast material is that it helps to make the pictures easier to read and clearly indicates any blockages or abnormalities within the organs.
- Nuclear scan: For this scan, you receive an injection of a small amount of radioactive material, often referred to as a ‘tracer’. It flows through your bloodstream and is collected by certain bones or organs. A machine called a scanner detects and measures the radioactivity. The scanner creates pictures of bones or organs on a computer screen or on film. Your body gets rid of the radioactive substance quickly. This type of scan may also be called radionuclide scan.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound device sends out sound waves that people cannot hear. The waves bounce off tissues inside your body like an echo. A computer uses these echoes to create a picture of areas inside your body. This picture is called a sonogram.
- MRI: A strong magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of areas in your body. Your doctor can view these pictures on a monitor and print them on film.
- PET scan: For this scan, you receive an injection of a tracer. Then, a machine makes 3-D pictures that show where the tracer collects in the body. These scans show how organs and tissues are working.
- X-rays: X-rays use low doses of radiation to create pictures of the inside of your body.
- With a needle: The doctor uses a needle to withdraw tissue or fluid.
- With an endoscope: The doctor looks at areas inside the body using a thin, lighted tube called an endoscope. The scope is inserted through a natural opening, such as the mouth. Then, the doctor uses a special tool to remove tissue or cells through the tube.
- With surgery: Surgery may be excisional or incisional.
- In an excisional biopsy, the surgeon removes the entire tumour. Often some of the normal tissue around the tumour also is removed.
- In an incisional biopsy, the surgeon removes just part of the tumour.
What Are the Different Types of Surgery Used in Cancer Treatment?
Some surgeries are used in combination with other types of treatment. Types [i] of surgeries include:
At Paula Cliffin Skin, I specialise in post-oncologic surgery skincare management in Raby Bay. With various chemicals being pumped into the body during treatment comes detrimental and long-lasting effects to the skin, if not treated correctly pre, during and post-treatment. I have over 20 years’ experience’ in providing bespoke and expert advice to cancer patients, to ensure the health of their body’s largest organ – the skin.
To get started on your journey to recovery and greater health, please call me today on 0438 735 990 or simply book an appointment using my easy-to-use online booking system. I look forward to getting started on your post-oncologic surgery skincare management in Raby Bay.
[i] Stanford Health Care. Types of Surgery for Cancer. https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-treatments/c/cancer-surgery/types.html
[ii] ASCO Cancer.net. Types of Oncologists. https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/cancer-basics/cancer-care-team/types-oncologists
[iii] National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/diagnosis-staging/diagnosis
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