Oncologists, use various methods of diagnosis to identify, stage, and grade cancerous growths and suggest detailed treatment plans..
Cancer has emerged as one of the leading causes of death worldwide; the study of cancer and tumour, their treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation, all come under the speciality of oncology. The specialists of the field, Oncologists, use various methods of diagnosis to identify, stage, and grade cancerous growths and suggest detailed treatment plans. Various diagnostic methods include identification of symptoms through clinical history, biopsy, CT scans, MRI, endoscopy, ultrasound, single-photon emission tomography etcetera. Treatment plans include the suggestion of cancer therapy based on the stage and grade of cancer like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, radioactive iodine treatment and so on. Although cancer treatment includes several specialists like surgeons or radiotherapists, oncologists are responsible for the overall process and this includes detection of relapse and remission. With the rising number of cancer patients each year, the field has witnessed much growth and research including treatment organization and delivery as well as treatment methods. Advancements in treatment methods include precision treatment or personalized treatment, checkpoint inhibitors, cancer vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, cytokines, CAR T-cell therapy, new forms of radiation therapy, robot-assisted surgery, matrix metalloproteinase and so on. Progress in diagnosis and care include the use of multidisciplinary teams, cancer screening, use of artificial intelligence in identifying indicators through analyzing large amounts of data, liquid biopsy, molecular diagnostics, etc.
The aim of the course Doctor of Medicine in Oncology is to train competent specialists who are well versed in medical oncology and practices and who are capable of diagnosing cancer of any type, suggest suitable therapies and provide palliative care. The course is rigorous and includes theoretical and practical sessions along with clinical postings, seminars and research. The syllabus and curriculum include etymology and epidemiology, general pathology of cancer, genetic in oncology, molecular oncology, cancer therapeutics, cancer prevention and screening, clinical trials in cancer, imaging techniques of cancer diagnosis & management, specialized techniques of cancer diagnosis and management, vascular access and specialised Technique of drug delivery, cancer of head and neck, cancer of lung and mediastinum, cancer of gastro-intestinal tract, cancer of genitourinary system, cancer of the breast, cancer of endocrine System, sarcomas of soft tissues & bone, benign & malignant mesotheliomas, cancer of the skin, malignant melanoma, neoplasms of CNS, cancers of childhood, lymphomas, leukemia and other haematological Malignancies, paraneoplastic syndromes, cancers of an unknown primary site, A.I.D.S – related malignancies, oncological emergencies, treatment of metastatic cancers, gynaecological cancers, high dose chemotherapy & transplantation, clinical exam skills & handling emergencies, chemotherapy administration, procedures (BM, LP CVC etc.), transplant & related procedures, imaging & response assessment, transfusion practices, medical record maintenance and analysis, biomedical statistics, and medical ethics. Successful students are expected to be able to diagnose any type of cancer, provide effective treatment, know about existing and latest therapies and oncological surgical principles, be able to perform procedures such as central venous access device insertions, lumbar punctures, bone marrow aspiration and biopsies, be able to manage oncology-related emergencies. They should be adept at research, administrative aspects and should also possess excellent communication skills to counsel patients and practice keeping in mind the dignity and ethics of the profession.
Students, during the period of the course, are expected to keep a logbook and publish two research papers in reputed journals. The course is three years long. Candidates having an M.D. in medicine, paediatrics or radiotherapy from an institution recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI) are eligible to apply. With the increasing number of cancer patients every year, there will be no dearth of career opportunities in this field whether as consultants, surgeons, researchers or lecturers.