Oncology is the medical specialty responsible for preventing, diagnosing, staging and treating various types of cancer. There are more than 100 different types of cancer and they all have one thing in common: uncontrolled cell growth. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumour. Tumours can be benign or malignant. Although there is no one cure for cancer, the treatments for cancer are getting better every day and some types of cancer are starting to become chronic diseases instead of deadly diseases.
Cancer treatments Cancer can be treated in a number of ways. Cancer treatment options largely depend on the kind of cancer and how far it has spread. Cancer treatments typically include:
• Surgery: used to remove cancerous tissues from the body.
• Radiation: high-energy rays are used to prevent cancer cells from dividing.
• Chemotherapy: special medicines are used to inhibit cell division and kill cancerous cells.
• ‘Targeted’ therapy: medicines targeting specific genes or proteins are used to help stop cancer from growing and spreading. This form of cancer treatment is often used with chemotherapy.
• Biological therapy: targets the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer. This form of cancer treatment is often used with chemotherapy as well.
• Antihormone therapy: this type of therapy suppresses selected hormones or their effects. It is mainly used to stop cancer cells from multiplying.
Side effects from cancer treatments Cancer patients are treated in a hospital’s oncology department. Some cancer treatments can cause debilitating side effects. A notorious side effect from chemotherapy and radiotherapy is nausea. Fortunately, there are medicines available that can prevent this side effect. These medicines block messages that are sent to the vomiting centre in the brain and should be taken right before chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. Treatment is typically continued for several days after the last dose of chemotherapy or radiotherapy to prevent delayed sickness.
Anti-sickness medicines A recent trend in oncology care is the use of targeted therapy. This form of therapy may increase the chance of side effects in some patients. You can get medicines that prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments at your local pharmacy or we can order it on your behalf from a registered pharmacy in the EU. For prescription medicines we can also arrange a consultation with a registered EU doctor.