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Oncology is a branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cancerous cells and tissues in the body. It covers preventive care, medical and radiation oncology and the use of other procedures such as surgery to treat cancer.
Cancer is a general term that is used to describe diseases that are characterized by the out-of-control growth of cells in the body. Cell growth and reproduction is a normal process that helps the body replace dead or worn out cells.
Cancer develops when this normal process breaks down and the cells in a specific body part divide and reproduce uncontrollably. When this happens, cells are formed even when they are not needed and this results in the growth of cancerous tissues in the body known as tumors. Cancers usually start in a specific part of the body and spreads to the surrounding tissues in a process known as metastasis. The early and timely diagnosis of cancer is very important in its treatment since it prevents the spread of the cancerous tumors to other parts of the body which can be fatal.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, there are over 200 types of cancer that are classified according to the cells that are initially affected by the cancerous growth. The most common types of cancers, however, are:
- Cervix uteri
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Corpus uteri (endometrium)
- Lip, oral cavity
- Brain, nervous system
- Melanoma of skin
- Other pharynx
- Multiple myeloma
- Hodgkin lymphoma
Treatment for cancer includes various therapies, radiation, cancer drugs, surgery or a combination of some of these treatments.