The incidence of cancer is rising at an alarming rate causing enormous physical, emotional, and financial burden on individuals and health systems globally. According to the World Health Organization, an alarming one in 10 Indians are likely to develop cancer in their lifetime. Here, our team of doctors at Onco-Life Centre, a leading cancer hospital in Chiplun offers advice on what to expect after a cancer diagnosis and how to deal with it.
First, find out the name, size, location of the cancer. Where it started and if it’s spread anywhere, if it’s slow-growing or an aggressive one. Evaluate your treatment options, their success ratios and side effects over short and long term. Next, understand who all are going to be involved in treatment and care. Depending on the stage and type of cancer, there might be many medical professionals involved including a medical oncologist, pathologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist, rehabilitation and palliative care specialists, nurses and dieticians.
Besides the cancer care team, your primary care doctor and other specialists managing other aspects of your health also need to be well-versed with your treatment. Amongst cancer hospitals in Chiplun, Onco-Life Centre has acquired a distinguished reputation in adopting a ‘team effort’ in patient care. Our teams combine the experience and skills of several medical professionals, many of whom specialize in treating specific cancers. It’s important for you to acquaint yourself with the many professionals you will encounter and their specific role in your treatment journey:
A medical oncologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats cancer. They act as the main healthcare provider for patients throughout the course of disease– designing treatment plans, offering supportive care, and coordinating treatment with other specialists as may be required. They usually specialize in treating one or more type of cancers that occur in specific organs or tissues such as liver, lungs, bones, blood or skin; organ systems such as hormonal system or the reproductive system or region of the body such as breast or neck.
Surgical oncologists are doctors who use surgery in treating cancers. They are general surgeons with specialty training in procedures for diagnosing, determining the cancer stage, or removing cancerous growths. In certain cases, surgical oncologists may even perform preventative surgeries. Depending on the type, stage and other circumstances, surgery may be the only treatment advised to you; or it may be supplemented with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Radiation oncologists work closely with medical oncologists, surgeons, and other doctors to evaluate the most feasible treatment plan individualized to patients. They prescribe radiation therapy to remove or shrink cancers.
A pathologist identifies and classifies different types of cancer by studying the associated cells and tissues. Pathology reports are crucial to both diagnosis and staging of cancer which in turn impact treatment plans.
Nuclear Medical Specialists
Nuclear radiologists use radioactive materials to produce visual images of the organs to diagnose and treat cancer. These radioactive elements may be swallowed, inhaled, or injected into a patient through which they travel in the body and become attached to certain types of cancer, revealing their location.
Genetic care specialist
This is a specialist doctor who uses laboratory tests to identify whether a person’s genetic code puts them at greater risk to certain types of cancers. They also use genetic markers to predict the likely response by a patient to a specific type of treatment.
Radiologists are doctors that specialize in diagnosing and treating cancers using medical imaging (radiology) procedures such as X-Rays, Magnetic Resource Imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, ultrasound etc. Such techniques are used to guide the delivery of treatment directly to a tumor. Interventional procedures such as tumor ablation or embolization are performed through precise cuts on the body where you need treatment.
Nurses play a very important role at Onco-Life Centre – a cancer hospital in Chiplun. They bring extraordinary levels of expertise, skill, and empathy to the treatment teams. They provide a range of services from administering therapies to monitoring for side effects to helping you and your family be prepared on what to expect next. They also help in coordinating appointments, communicating essential information amongst members of the treatment team.
Besides the above, patients with certain types of cancers or side effects may experience dietary limitations, stress, anxiety or depression and may require social and emotional support. Onco-Life Centre which is a cancer hospital in Chiplun has skilled dieticians, psychiatrists, and rehabilitation staff to help patients and their families cope with the treatment and adjust with life better. No doubt the road to recovery can be long and arduous. But knowing all the people and resources that can help you manage the illness efficiently will make the journey smoother.