Oncology is one of the branches of medicine, focused on tumours and cancer treatment. Cancer is a disease, in which body cells began to mutate and pose a threat to one’s health or even life. There are different types of cancer, such as lung cancer, leukemia, brain cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and soft tissue cancers such as various sarcomas.
The history of oncology in its modern form is quite short but people have observed tumors and cancers for thousands of years, often describing only those types which were visible on the outside. The term “oncology” comes from Galen, who used the Greek word ‘oncos’ (swelling) to describe tumors of all kind and ‘cancer’ (crab) for their malignant forms. Up until 19th century, people used Greek and Roman cancer treatments based on “humours” with close to no effect, since the knowledge of cells was non-existent. The advent of microscope use in medicine, as well as the discovery of radiation by Marie Curie-Skłodowska, had an important contribution to the development of oncology and cancer treatments.
Oncology employs many cancer treatment techniques. Oncology surgery is used when there is a chance of cancer removal. Therefore it is usually performed in early cancer stages when it didn’t spread to other body parts through the process of metastasis. In later cancer stages, oncology doctor conducts usually chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy treatment means utilisation of powerful drugs in cancer treatment. Those drugs are strong enough to kill cancer cells but can also cause a lot of collateral damage in the patient’s body. In radiation therapy, oncologists use radiation as an effective cancer treatment. Radiation may be emitted by a machine (external radiation therapy) or injected/swallowed (internal radiation therapy). However, these aren’t all options of oncology treatment. Apart from cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, there are new, experimental therapies: gene therapies, targeted therapies, and others, which bring even brighter future for cancer patients.
Nobody has delusions that only elder people become cancer patients anymore. Seemingly, perfectly healthy young people may have a tumor or early cancer stages in their body without knowing it. That’s why it is so important to react to all cancer symptoms without hesitation. Especially skin cancers such as melanomas or soft tissue cancers become visible with time, allowing for rather quick identification and successful cancer treatment.
Due to the development of medical tourism, many patients decide for cancer treatment abroad. In some countries, more advanced therapies are not refunded and cancer patients are willing to pay on their own to get the best oncology treatment possible. One of the trends among patients from Western Europe and the US is to look for a cancer hospital in India, where cancer treatment costs are relatively low and affordable. However, closer to Europe there are other health tourism destinations which offer comparable cancer care for the similar price. Since chemotherapy and radiation therapy cost might be too expensive in the most popular oncology centers in the world, such as USA, Australia, and the UK, people prefer to go alternative medical tourism destinations where they can find affordable costs and quality cancer treatment. For example, chemotherapy cost in Turkey or in India is quite affordable. For instance, Turkey for years enjoys a good opinion for its top-end clinics and specialists. Also, India has welcomed so many international patients in the recent years.
Most Common Cancer Treatments Abroad
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