Cancer occurs when a normal cell loses its normal control mechanisms and acquires uncontrolled growth.
A multitude of genetic and environmental factors increase the risk of developing cancer.
The increase in cancer diseases is due not only to an improved diagnosis but also to an effective increase in the incidence of certain types of cancer, particularly those related to excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, type of food in Western countries. Occupational cancer caused by pollution in all its aspects is another reason as well as extended life expectancy.
Oncology is the medical specialty that treats Cancer.
Oncologists fight Cancer!
The Cancer is a worrying health problem for the Portuguese population, importance fully justified by their increased morbidity and mortality.
In Portugal, there are 37,000 new cases of cancer annually, with breast cancer being more frequent in women and cancer of the colon and rectum, more frequent in men.
Oncology is today a synthesis of multiple knowledge and experiences, which requires the presence of a Multidisciplinary Team of professionals with experience and training. This team must work in a coordinated manner and its leader being the Medical Oncologist.
A multidisciplinary team of specialist deal with cancer from its diagnosis to the treatment and follow up. Dealing with this disease involves various types of medical specialists, Medical Oncology, Surgery, Radiotherapy, Pathology and depending on the type of malignancy also other specialties such as Endocrinology (thyroid cancer, supra renal), Pneumology (lung cancer), Senology (breast cancer), Haematology (leukaemia, lymphomas), Gastroenterology (cancers of the stomach, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder) ORC (oral cavity cancer), Gynaecology (uterine cancers, ovary, vulva) Urology (cancers of the kidney, bladder, prostate, testis) Neurosurgery (cancer of the central nervous system), Anaesthesiology (treatment of acute and chronic pain) Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology (psychological and psychiatric patient care).
Cancer screening begins with a medical history and physical examination. Patients often complain of poor appetite, weight loss, changes in taste and smell, fatigue, psychological distress and pain.
The patient together with the specialist assesses the cancer risks involved to determine what tests are needed.
A Histological test is requiring the analysis of a biopsy is necessary in order to detect oncological diseases.
When cancer is detected, other tests help to learn its exact location and whether or not it has already spread to other organs (metastases).
Once this is known, the appropriate treatment is planned and the prognosis is determined.
Cancer patients should always be treated by an Oncologist to evaluate their response to the therapy. Cure is reached by using the most effective treatment.
Cure is defined as a complete remission in which all evidence of cancer disappears.
65% of patients diagnosed with cancer currently live more than 5 years.