Clinical Oncology Services
The Department of Oncology at MGM Healthcare is a Centre of Excellence for its protocol-driven approach to diagnose and treat cancers. At MGM, we offer services in Medical and Surgical Oncology — where certain types of cancer are treated by way of surgery to remove tissues affected by cancer cells or with the use of medication to target the cancer cells.
When do I require a cancer screening?
If you notice any of the following, please consult a specialist:
- Persistent cough with blood-tinged saliva
- Sudden change in bowel habits
- Blood in stools
- Breast lump/breast discharge
- Sudden change in urination
- Indigestion/difficulty swallowing
- Sudden weight loss or night sweats
- Persistent headaches
Treatments we offer
Chemotherapy is a form of drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill fast-growing cancer cells in the body. Different chemotherapy drugs are available today that can be used alone or in combination to treat a wide variety of cancers. Though it is an effective way to treat cancer, chemotherapy also carries several side effects. While some of these side effects are mild and treatable, others might cause serious complications.
Why is chemotherapy done?
Chemotherapy may be used for a variety of settings:
- To cure cancer without other treatments: Chemotherapy can be used as the primary or sole treatment for cancer
- After other treatments: Chemotherapy can be used after other treatments, such as surgery, to destroy any cancer cells that might remain in the body — called adjuvant therapy
- To prepare the patient for other treatments: Chemotherapy can be used to shrink a tumour so that other modalities like radiation and surgery can be employed — called neoadjuvant therapy
- To ease signs and symptoms: Chemotherapy may help alleviate some of the symptoms of cancer — called palliative chemotherapy
What are some common side effects?
Common side effects of chemotherapy drugs include:
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Easy bruising
How are chemotherapy drugs administered?
Chemotherapy drugs can be administered in different ways:
- Intravenous infusions through the arm or chest
- Chemotherapy pills
- Chemotherapy shots
- Chemotherapy creams
- Chemotherapy drugs used to treat one area of the body, like intraperitoneal chemotherapy, intrapleural chemotherapy
- Chemotherapy given directly to the cancer
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps the immune system fight against cancer. The immune system is made up of white blood cells, organs and tissues of the lymph system. Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy that uses substances made from living organisms to treat cancer. Immunotherapy drugs, though not as widely used as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, are used to treat many types of cancer.
What are the types of immunotherapies?
Several types of immunotherapies are used to treat cancer. These include:
- Immune checkpoint inhibitors: Drugs that block immune checkpoints, allowing the immune cells to respond more strongly to cancer
- T-cell transfer therapy: Boosts the natural ability of the body’s T cells to fight cancer by converting the most active cells in the body to better the cancer cells
- Monoclonal antibodies: Proteins created in the lab that are designed to bind to specific targets on cancer cells, so that they will be better seen and destroyed by the immune system
- Treatment vaccines: Works against cancer by boosting the body’s immune system’s response to cancer cells
- Immune system modulators: Enhances the body’s immune response against cancer
What are the side effects of immunotherapy?
- Skin reactions
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle aches
- Shortness of breath (trouble breathing)
- Swelling of legs (oedema)
- Sinus congestion
- Weight gain from retaining fluid
- Hormone changes
How is immunotherapy given?
Different forms of immunotherapy may be given in different ways. These include:
- Intravenous (IV)
- Intravesical (through the bladder)
Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to treat cancer by targeting the cancer’s specific genes, proteins or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Targeted therapy is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy and other treatments.
What does targeted therapy target?
To understand how targeted therapy works, one needs to know how specific cancer cells grow. Cells make up every tissue in the body. Each type of cell has a specific function. Cancer starts when certain genes in healthy cells change resulting in a mutation. The genes in the cells tell these cells how to make proteins that keep the cell working. So, if the genes change, these proteins change too. This makes cells divide abnormally or live too long. When this happens, the cells grow out of control and form a tumour. So, drugs are being developed that target these changes. These drugs can block or turn off the signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide, keep cells from living longer than normal or destroy the cancer cells.
What are the types of targeted therapy
There are several types of targeted therapy:
- Monoclonal antibodies: Block a specific target on the outside of cancer cells and can also send toxic substances directly to cancer cells
- Small-molecule drugs: Block the process that helps cancer cells multiply and spread
- Angiogenesis inhibitors: Keep the tissues around the tumour from making blood vessels which stops the growth of the cancer cells
What are the side effects of targeted therapy?
The most common side effects seen with targeted therapies are:
- Liver problems, such as hepatitis and elevated liver enzymes
- Skin problems
- Problems with blood clotting and wound healing
- High blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal perforation (a rare side effect)