The classical treatment methods in oncology are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. In some types of cancers, one of these methods may be sufficient, while in others, it may be necessary to use some or all of these methods at the same time or in a particular order.
Interventional radiological methods have become increasingly important in cancer treatment especially after 2000s. These methods, also referred to as interventional oncology because they are applied in cancer, can be divided into two groups as percutaneous ablations and arterial interventions . Just like radiotherapy and surgery, interventional oncological methods are effective locally (loco-regional treatments) and not or less effective in the whole body, so they are used as alternatives to surgery and radiotherapy in some patients. However, since cancer treatment is a long-lasting process, it may be necessary to use interventional oncological methods in combination with conventional methods such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
In recent years, it has been found out that most of the cancers have subgroups, and that these groups, which were always treated in the same way in the past, are actually different from each other and may be sensitive to different treatment methods. These subgroups can be differentiated from one another by some histopathological, genetic and receptor examinations from biopsy specimens and it can be realized which subgroup is more sensitive to which treatment method. Apart from this, some factors specific to the patient, such as age, gender, heart and lung diseases, may also require us to change the treatment method. All these developments have changed the classical concept that was previously used in cancer, and nowadays cancer treatment is generally administered in an individualized manner (personalized cancer treatment).
As a result, the treatment of cancer has become more sophisticated and complicated than before, that necessiates participation of multiple specialties into the therapy. Since cancer patients are divided into many subgroups, diagnosis and treatment approaches change rapidly and cancer patients live longer than in the past, problems that had not been seen before have begun to be seen. At present, modern oncology centers have a cancer team consisting of oncologists, surgeons, radiotherapists, interventional radiologists, nuclear medicine and radiology specialists as well as other related physicians, and critical treatment decisions are made by consencus.
Multidisciplinary tumor board
Interventional oncology in cancer management
Prof Saim Yilmaz, MD