Cancer and Oncologists

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Researched by Livia P.

    • Why I Chose This Topic
    • Dedication
    • My Family
    • My Interests
    • Products I Created
    • Self-Evaluation
    • Thanks for Helping

Research Summary


Cancer is any of various diseases in which cells of the body grow in abnormally and unchecked ways, often spreading throughout the body.  When a mass of cells grows and spreads, it is called a tumor.


There are three main types of treatments for cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.  The most common treatment is chemotherapy.  Chemotherapy is a series of strong drugs given together.  It can be taken in many forms.  If you are hosptalized then it will probably be flowing through your body from a sack connected to veins in your arm.  If you are on the go, you can get pills, liquid medications, and even possibly a nasal spray.  With chemo you will get side effects.  Your hair may fall out, you will get chapped lips, you will feel tired, and you are often nauseated or lose your appetite.  Many chemotherapy drugs are somewhat poisonous.  That is why they may make you sick. Their goal is to kill the Cancer cells, but some healthy cells get damaged or killed too.

Patients who get radiation therapy don’t feel a thing until after the treatment.  The x-rays kill the tumor, but they also damage healthy tissue.  Many of the side effects are similar to chemo.

Surgery was the original cancer treatment and is still widely used.  A very advanced type of surgery is called targeted surgery and is very new.  It is when oncologists remove just the tumor but almost none of the healthy tissue.  One common surgery is mastectomy for breast cancer patients. 

Dieting treatment is one of the easiest.  All you do is eat very healthy and exercise as often as possible.  Though you never do it separately from other treatments, it can be very effective with other medications.


Cancer is a disease that goes back thousands of years.  The most famous person in cancer history was Hippocrates who lived in about 400 BC.  He named cancer after the Ancient Greek word “carcinos” for crab.  He named it “crab” because the tumor body looked like a crab and the tumor spreading looked like crab legs. Also, from 1990 to 1998, doctor Vincent T. DeVita invented the chemotherapy process.  He was very important in developing the first successful curative chemotherapy program for a variety of cancers.  Halstead was also a hero in medicine.  He found the way to conduct Mastectomy, which is the most common Breast Cancer surgery.  


In the future doctors think that we will see many more targeted therapies.  They will do a better job of killing cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

Parts of Cells

In order to understand cancer you have to understand cells.   Cancer cells are the cause of cancer. 

The cell wall is a very important part of the cell.  It forms an outer boundary and controls what comes in and out of the cell.  The cytoplasm is a gel like material inside the cell; it has the water and nutrients to spread throughout the body.  A cell’s nucleus contains the chromosomes with DNA.

The nuclear membrane separates the nucleus from the cytoplasm.  The part that moves the materials around the cell is called the endoplasmic reticulum.  Ribosomes make protein for the cell.  Golgi bodies are used for packaging and secreting energy.  Mitochondria break down the food and release energy. The lysosomes are chemicals to digest waste and vacuoles are storage areas for the cell.

Cancer cells invade healthy cells in certain tissue.  The cancer cells multiply and multiply until they form a lump of cells. The lump of cells is called a tumor.

Who I Interviewed And What I Learned

I interviewed Vicky Jones on December 28, 2005 at her house. I chose to interview her because she is a close family friend and an oncologist  (cancer doctor).
She works at North Star Lodge and has been an oncologist for 20 years.  Her field is medical oncology and she is a specialist in breast cancer therapy.  For schooling she had started by going to medical school to become a doctor; then she went to her residency training, which in her case was internal medicine.  After that she flew to an Oncology school to get her specialty work. 

She got interested in the field of medicine because it is always changing and being part of the research keeps your mind alive and lets you see all the exciting thing that are changing.  “I enjoy the patients that I get because they are from a special group and are very much needing what I do.  The atmosphere is also wonderful.  It’s an area that makes me learn every day, so it’s intellectually stimulating,” said Vicky.  She likes being an Oncologist because she gets to go home feeling satisfied and is always challenged. 

Cancer goes back thousands of years. People think of it as a more recent problem, but it isn’t. Long ago they didn’t have a lot of the medicine and machines we do today.  They didn’t know what it was and how to treat it.  So cancer treatment in its current form is really just 100 years old.  Many people have helped in the history of cancer.  One of them was named Halstead.  He invented Mastectomy, or Breast Cancer surgery.  Another one was named doctor T. DeVita.  She was the first to realize that chemotherapy killed cancer.
When I asked her when cancer started to become the huge problem it is today, she answered that it isn’t huge at all.  It is pretty significant.  The thing is that people long ago often died from diseases that we don’t have anymore, like polio. In the last fifty years it has become a bigger problem.  Years ago people didn’t talk about it, and that made it unrecognized.  Around WWII people started smoking heavily, both men and women.  That really increased lung cancer.

A new thing in the study of cancer research is team efforts.   An exciting thing for Oncologists is that they are learning a lot more about cells and how they can disobey the rules of the body.  Some of the major problems today for cancer researchers are related to insurance.  Scientists are predicting many more targeted therapies in the future.  
I am very glad I got to interview Vicky, because she has a very busy schedule and still took time to talk with me.


American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures.  Atlanta GA: National home office: ACS, 2005

American Cancer Society. The smoke around you.  Atlanta GA: American Cancer Society inc., 2003

Benowitz, Steven. Cancer. Berkeley Heights NJ: Enslow publishers, 1999

Fradin, Dennis. Cancer. Chicago: Children’s press, 1988

Harris, Jules. Cancer.  World book Encyclopedia: 1998, Vol. 3

Jones, Vicky. Personal interview. December 28, 2005

Yount, Lisa. Cancer.  San Diego CA: Lucent books Inc, 1991

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