Department of Medical Oncology

Magadh Cancer Centre

Department of Medical Oncology


What is Medical Oncology?

Our Department of Medical Oncology offers cancer treatment provided by a team of experienced medical oncologists. Our experts offer personalised treatment planning which includes treatment modalities like chemotherapy, hormonal, biological, and targeted therapy.

Role of Medical Oncology in Cancer treatment

Medical Oncology involves administration of specialized medications or substances which act on the cancer cells in many ways to destroy them and prevent their multiplication within the body. The term, ‘Chemotherapy’ is composed of two words – ‘chemo’ (substance/chemical/medicines) & ‘therapy’ (treatment) i.e., medicines used to treat cancer.

A medical oncologist is the physician who assesses the patient’s clinical condition, decides the treatment plan and manages the entire chemotherapy regimen which will be given over the course of several weeks, months, or years.

There are various classes of chemotherapy agents, which act in various manners from each other to treat cancer. With the advancement of research and medical science, besides the conventional or standard chemotherapy, there are other modalities available for an effective and precise treatment of cancer.

Medical Oncology involves administration of various medications using one/more of the following:
Conventional Chemotherapy
Hormonal therapy
Targeted therapy

Immunotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy for cancer treatment offer advantages over conventional chemotherapy in being more specific to the cancer cells henceforth, lesser adverse effects to the patient.


Cancer Diagnosis

A diagnosis of cancer may be suspected based on history and physical examination but requires confirmation by biopsy and histopathologic examination. Sometimes the first indication is an abnormal laboratory test result (eg, anemia resulting from colon cancer). A complete history and physical examination may reveal unexpected clues to early cancer.


Physicians must be aware of predisposing factors and must specifically ask about familial cancers, environmental exposures (including smoking history), and prior or present illnesses (eg, autoimmune disorders, previous immune-suppressing therapy, hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection, HIV infection, abnormal Papanicolaou test, human papillomavirus infection).

Symptoms suggesting occult cancer can include:
Weight loss
Night sweats
Change in bowel habits
Persistent pain

Other symptoms may be present depending on the site of cancer (eg, hoarseness in laryngeal cancer or abnormal vaginal bleeding in uterine cancer).

Physical examination

Particular attention should be paid to skin, lymph nodes, lungs, breasts, abdomen, and testes. Prostate, rectal, and vaginal examinations are also important. Findings help direct further testing, including x-rays and biopsies.


Tests include imaging tests, biomarkers, and biopsies; one or more of which may be indicated in patients with a suggestive history or physical or laboratory findings.

Imaging tests include plain x-rays, ultrasonography, CT, positron emission tomography (PET), and MRI studies. These tests assist in identifying abnormalities, determining qualities of a mass (solid or cystic), providing dimensions, and establishing relationship to surrounding structures, which may be important if surgery or biopsy is being considered.

Biomarkers may offer corroborating evidence in patients with findings suggestive of a specific cancer. Most are not used as routine screening tests, except in high-risk patients. Useful examples include:

Alpha-fetoprotein (hepatocellular carcinoma, testicular carcinoma)
Carcinoembryonic antigen (colon cancer)
Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (choriocarcinoma, testicular carcinoma)
Serum immunoglobulins (multiple myeloma)
Molecular tests (diverse cancers)
CA 125 (ovarian cancer)
CA 27-29 (breast cancer)
PSA (prostate-specific antigen—prostate cancer)
Change in bowel habits
Persistent pain

Some of these biomarkers may be most useful in monitoring the response to treatment rather than in tumor detection.

Biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and tissue of origin is almost always required when cancer is suspected. The choice of biopsy site is usually determined by ease of access and degree of invasiveness. If lymphadenopathy is present, fine-needle or core biopsy may reveal the cancer type. Core biopsies or lymph node excision are recommended for diagnosis of lymphomas because preservation of nodal architecture is important for accurate histologic diagnosis. Sometimes an open biopsy is needed. Other biopsy routes include bronchoscopy or mediastinoscopy for easily accessible mediastinal or central pulmonary tumors, percutaneous liver biopsy if liver lesions are present, and CT- or ultrasound-guided biopsy of lung or soft tissue masses.