The first step- Medical Oncology
Cancer is one of the oldest diseases and the treatment is ever evolving. Last decade has seen a sea change in the outcome of cancer patients and this is by virtue of technological advances happening in all aspects of management of Oncology, be it Radiation, Surgical, Medical Oncology or Diagnostic tools like Radiology, Pathology, or cytogenetics.
We are all aware of the newer radiation delivery machines and the surgical techniques, which has minimized the side effects and comorbidities of cancer patients, by being very precise Similarly in Medical Oncology the paradigms have changed drastically over the last decade with technology to decipher the biology of the cancer cells leading to the development of effective and less toxic drugs with longer progression free survivals and over all survivals.
The foremost important parameter in planning systemic therapy for cancer patients is to understand the biology and the behaviour of the tumour. This is only possible by performing a biopsy either from the tumour or blood (Liquid Biopsy) followed by a series of investigations (IHC, Mutational analysis, sequencing etc), which tells not only the exact origin of the tumour, but gives us a fair enough idea about the therapeutic intervention required to treat the patient with best survival rates. Most importantly these investigations also let an Oncologist know what not to use as the tumour may harbour some resistant mutations.
Technological developments in drug development tools have led to newer aspects of cancer treatment with Monoclonal inhibitors, check point inhibitors and Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors giving our cancer patients a survival advantage with a good quality and a meaningful life.