Cancer is an increasingly multidisciplinary field which requires input from a variety of specialties. It is the responsibility of the medical oncologist to integrate the numerous physicians involved and to oversee the complete treatment program.
All of the McGill-affiliated hospitals have established medical oncology teams. Many of the oncologists provide services at more than one of the hospitals, resulting in greater functional networking.
In contrast with physicians in other sub-specialties, medical oncologists encounter, and must treat, a variety of internal medicine problems which arise regularly in the management of patients with cancer. The evolution of novel treatment approaches—biological agents (antibodies, antisense oligonucleotides, etc.), small chemical molecules with entirely different toxicities from chemotherapy, cellular therapies, and combinations of these with radiation and chemotherapy—necessitates the ongoing involvement of medical oncologists in the development of sub-specializations.
Medical oncologists are also involved in screening and prevention, cancer genetics, palliative care and rehabilitation. In most of these areas, the they are important members of emerging multidisciplinary teams.
Medical Oncology has been engaged in innovative translation research. The McGill Centre for Translation Research in Cancer has several protocols in which in-depth pharmacokinetic analyses and/or tissue correlates of molecular based therapies are being examined.
Through their participation and leadership at national and international levels, medical oncologists at McGill provide Québec patients with opportunities to participate in high quality clinical trials, offering state-of-the-art novel therapies.
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