Oncology is the study of a variety of tumours, namely the various cancers that can affect a human being. The word 'cancer' covers approximately 150 variations of one disease, the characteristic of which is the uncontrolled division of cells of an organ or tissue.
Cancers of the breast, lung, intestine and prostate gland are the best-known and most common. For a long time now, breast cancer has been the most common cancer to affect women, whilst men suffer most from lung cancer. The symptoms of cancer, as well as the chances of recovery from it, vary widely and depend on the structure, size and location of the tumour.
If cancer is suspected, the oncologist will initiate a series of tests. The results of these tests determine the further course of action. The oncologist will decide, for example, which drug should best be used in chemotherapy, or whether it might be better to remove a tumour surgically. In some cases, the oncologist will arrange for radiotherapy, where he will work closely with the radio-oncologist/radiotherapist, a specialist in radiotherapy.
He also treats the symptoms that accompany cancer, such as pain. He monitors the patient's recovery and carries out further tests.