Did you know ?
There were 17 million new cases of cancer worldwide in 2018.1
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Oncology is a specialty that studies and treats malignant tumors. Malignant diseases are generally serious because they can lead to a fatal outcome in the short, medium, or long term. The cure of a cancerous disease will largely depend on the early diagnosis and treatment.
Cancer is a cell-based disease (organic functional unit). Lesions begin with an uncontrolled proliferation of any cell in the body, resulting in tissue dysfunction followed by organic dysfunction.
Each cell has a specific role (the red blood cells carry oxygen, the oocytes ensure reproduction …). No cell is immortal and at the end of its life (apoptosis), each cell uses the phenomenon of mitosis or cell replication to ensure its durability. During these replications, changes may occur at the DNA level, which carries the genetic information that serves as an identity card to the cell. These modifications can be innocuous, not leading to any particular modification of the cellular functions. However, in certain cases an abnormality alters the functions of the cell, which can lead to the development of cancer.
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It is necessary to differentiate benign tumors from malignant tumors. Oncology mainly concerns pathologies of a malignant nature. Cancerous diseases can be categorized as:
These diseases can affect all organs of the body. Their clinical expressions are as variable as the type of tissue reached.
The risk of developing cancer is not the same for everyone. Some people, who are genetically predisposed, are at higher risk of developing cancer. Environment and lifestyle are also involved in the occurrence of cancer, which explains the high incidence of lung cancer among smokers. Even if the cancer is generally slowly progressive, early detection is possible.
The diagnosis of cancer can sometimes be linked to monitoring of a recurrent or chronic disease. It can also be detected by screening following continuous exposures to carcinogenic factors. In most cases, however, cancer will only be discovered at an already advanced stage or during a systematic review during a health check.
There is sometimes a long period of time between the onset of the disease and the appearance of the first signs of cancer; as a result, the diagnosis of cancer will be delayed, which reduces the chances of recovery.
The peculiarity of cancer in children is however its rapid evolution, with a response to treatment which is often better.
The treatment of a cancer comprises several components, which can be complementary, in order to eradicate the disease or at least to control its proliferation and the resulting symptoms. Treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy, and finally care for advanced cancers.
A cancer will generally be considered to be cured after at least five years without signs of relapse.
1112 peer-recommended oncologists have been identified by Concilio