: The field of medicine devoted to cancer. Literally, oncology means the study of tumors. The word comes from the Greek "o(n)glos" (a bulk or mass, or later, a tumor) + "logos" (a study or treatise) = the study of tumors. However, oncology today is far more than the study of cancer. In oncology research, there is both basic and applied research. And in clinical oncology, there are three primary disciplines: {{}}Medical oncology — the treatment of cancer with medicine/chemotherapy. Surgical oncology — the surgical aspects of cancer including biopsy, staging, and surgical resection of tumors. Radiation oncology — the treatment of cancer with therapeutic radiation.(Radiation oncology is also called radiation therapy or radiotherapy.) Within these three primary disciplines, oncologists may and often do further specialize in specific types of cancer such as breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, brain and spinal cord cancer (neuro-oncology), etc. Pediatric oncology is usually recognized as a fourth, distinct discipline within the field of oncology. Pediatric oncologists specialize in the treatment of children with cancer and incorporate all three primary oncology disciplines in the care of their young patients. These cancer specialists require a special subset of skills because children with cancer have unique problems that require specialized pediatric care across the entire spectrum of treatment. Once a cancer diagnosis is made, it is the oncologist’s role to explain the cancer diagnosis and meaning of the disease stage to the patient; discuss various treatment options; recommend the best course of treatment; deliver optimal care; and improve quality of life both through curative therapy and palliative care with pain and symptom management. Typically, when a tumor is discovered, a patient will first see a surgeon. The surgeon will perform a biopsy of the tumor and send the tissue to a pathologist for evaluation. If a cancer diagnosis is made, an oncologist will evaluate the patient to determine the stage of the cancer. Staging usually involves a precise evaluation of the tumor, lymph nodes, and any metastasis, or spread of the disease.
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The study or science dealing with the physical, chemical, and biologic properties and features of neoplasms, including causation, pathogenesis, and treatment. [onco- + G. logos, study]
- radiation o. 1. the medical specialty concerned with the use of ionizing radiation in the treatment of disease; 2. the medical specialty of radiation therapy; 3. the use of radiation in the treatment of neoplasms. SYN: radiotherapy, therapeutic radiology.

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on·col·o·gy än-'käl-ə-jē, äŋ- n, pl -gies the study of tumors
on·co·log·i·cal .äŋ-kə-'läj-i-kəl also on·co·log·ic -ik adj

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the study and practice of treating tumours. It is often subdivided into medical, surgical, and radiation oncology.
oncologist n.

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on·col·o·gy (ong-kolґə-je) [onco-1 + -logy] the sum of knowledge concerning tumors; the study of tumors.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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