Our body consists of billions of cells. When these are no longer functioning properly, or have reached the end of their life cycle, they are replaced by new ones. In the case of a tumor, the balance of cell degradation and growth is disturbed, causing individual cells to multiply uncontrollably.
Tumors can affect any type of tissue and thus occur anywhere in the body. These can be benign (benign tumors) or malignant (malignant tumors). The difference is, that benign tumors only displace the surrounding tissue, while malignant tumors - also known as cancer - can infiltrate the tissue and form offshoots (metastases).
In most cases, the cause of tumor development remains unknown. Various factors can however influence the development, these include, environmental toxins (asbestos, toxic substances), genetic predisposition, our lifestyle (tobacco and alcohol consumption), as well as certain viral infections and disorders of the immune system.
Hematology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs, such as anemia or leukemia.
Another important aspect of hematology is hemostaseology, or blood clotting. At the Oncology and Hematology Center, we investigate coagulation disorders with an increased tendency for bleeding, as well as with increased coagulation in terms of thromboses and embolisms. Subsequently, we provide recommendations for therapy and behavior in special situations such as surgery.
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Oncology & Hematology Center
Our Oncology & Hematology Center provides, with the support of other specialists at Männedorf Hospital, careful clarification of tumor diseases and hematological disorders. We will work together with you and through the close cooperation with our mutual partners, determine the optimum strategy required. In doing so, we focus on up to date therapies, as well as individual and holistic treatment and care.
Do you have questions relating to cancer?
With a cancer diagnosis, those affected and their relatives suddenly find themselves in an altered life situation. During a personal consultation we will be happy to answer your questions concerning diagnostic assessment and treatment. Our medical specialists and our nursing staff are available to provide you with individual advice. To make an appointment, please contact the secretariat of the Oncology Center.
In the interim period, these answers to common questions will already provide you with some initial information about your condition.
What is a tumor?
A tumor refers to a swelling or growth. In a narrower sense, it means a new formation of body tissue that results from abnormality in cell growth. Tumors can affect any type of tissue and thus occur anywhere in the body. Benign tumors displace the surrounding tissue, while malignant tumors can infiltrate the tissue and form offshoots (metastases). Malignant tumors are referred to as cancer. Depending on the location of the tumor and the function of the tissue damaged by it, organs may malfunction.
How quickly does a tumor grow?
Malignant tumors have one thing in common: the uncontrolled division of the cells of an organ or tissue. As a result of this uncontrolled growth, the surrounding healthy tissue is destroyed. Spread via the blood or the lymphatic system, offshoots can develop in other organs. How quickly a tumor grows depends on the rate at which its cells multiply. There are tumors with cells that divide very quickly, while others grow slowly. Some cancers can use growth factors to cause more blood vessels to grow into the tumor from neighboring areas. This accelerates its growth accordingly.
Why does cancer develop?
Cancer can be triggered by a wide variety of factors. Environment (exposure to asbestos, toxic substances), genetic predisposition, lifestyle (high-fat diet, tobacco and alcohol consumption) and related diseases (individual viral infections, disorders of the immune system) sometimes play a role. In most cases however the cause of development remains unknown.
What type of tumor is it?
Tissue sections are prepared from a tissue sample obtained by means of a thin needle or a surgical procedure (biopsy), stained and assessed under the microscope. Based on the appearance of the tissue structures, the pathologist makes the diagnosis. Surface structures on the tumor cells are characterized by means of further modern procedures. This information may allow the subsequent use of targeted drugs.
Suspected cancer - what next?
If cancer is suspected, talking to the patient is an important first aspect: What symptoms have occurred? How was the tumor discovered? Have there been any changes in the patient's general condition? Are there any previous illnesses or are there hereditary cancer cases and risk factors? A detailed physical examination provides clues to the localization or extent of the disease. To confirm that the tumor is truly malignant, a tissue sample is usually necessary. In a second step, the extent of the tumor disease must be determined. Imaging techniques are predominantly used for this purpose.
What examinations are necessary for an accurate diagnosis?
For an optimal choice of therapy, an exact diagnosis and cancer staging is important. In the case of individual tumor diseases, the tumor marker in the blood provides further information concerning the occurrence of the tumor. The examinations are selected however in such a way that the required number of examinations answers all of the questions necessary for therapy selection. The following diagnostic procedures can be performed at Männedorf Hospital:
- Magnetic resonance, MRI
- Computer tomography, CT
- Bone marrow puncture
How does tumor staging work?
Tumor staging according to TNM is based on the following criteria:
- Size and extent of the primary tumor (T)
- Absence or presence of regional lymph node metastases (N).
- Absence or presence of distant metastases (M).
What are tumor markers?
Tumor markers are biological substances in the blood or other body fluids whose elevated concentration can indicate a tumor or a recurrence of such a tumor. The determination of these values is particularly suitable for monitoring the course of therapy.
What is anemia?
Anemia refers to a shortage of blood, this is manifested by a decrease in hemoglobin concentration in the blood. Typical symptoms of anemia are light fatigue, shortness of breath, especially during physical exertion and often headaches. Causes of acquired anemia can be blood loss, increased blood breakdown, diseases of the hematopoietic system, deficiency diseases, kidney diseases, hormonal disorders, pregnancy or chronic inflammatory diseases. In severe anemias blood transfusions are necessary.
What is hemochromatosis?
Hemochromatosis is a disease in which there is increased absorption of iron in the upper small intestine. Over the years, this overload leads to organ damage, especially to the liver, pancreas, heart, joints, spleen, pituitary gland, thyroid and skin. The disease can be successfully treated through early detection. With advanced disease, irreversible damage occurs, especially to the liver. Similarly, the disease increases the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Hemochromatosis can be congenital or acquired. Therapy for hemochromatosis consists of repeated bloodletting.
What side effects should I expect from chemotherapy?
Often chemotherapies will also affect healthy body cells and can thus trigger side effects. The type of therapy will determine the severity and type of side effects. Before initiating a therapy, the treating oncologist will provide information confirming the expected concomitant reactions, as well as information in relation to the recommended precautionary measures. At the time of the therapy, additional counseling sessions with the responsible nurse will take place to help you in dealing with any side effects.