Oncology

Cancerology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancerous diseases.

The aim is to identify the mechanisms of tumour formation (carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, myeloma, leukaemia, mesothelioma, melanoma, glioma, metastases, etc.) and to continuously improve and develop the state of knowledge in order to develop the best possible therapy for each individual case.

Cancer centres

For over a decade, Swiss Oncology Network has set its sights on one overriding goal: to offer everyone living with cancer privileged access to treatments and the best and safest treatment strategies for their specific illness.

Our cancer centres

Cancer in Switzerland

Every year, cancer affects over 44,000 people in Switzerland (approx. 20,000 women and 24,000 men). Due to demographic reasons (an ageing population), the number of new diagnoses is still on the rise, but thanks to various screening programmes and ongoing advances in diagnosis and therapy, chances of survival continue to increase.

Multidisciplinary cancer treatment

Surgical oncology
Medical oncology
Psycho-oncology
Radio-oncology
Medical imaging
Hematology
Nuclear medicine
Pathology

Types of tumours

Cancer cells

Cancer cells are so-called ‘immortal’ cells because they multiply without dying, accumulating to form a tumour. As they do not function like a normal cell, they divert ‘local resources’ to feed on them (neoangiogenesis), blocking and attacking the body’s immune defences.

Benign tumour

A localised mass consisting of cells that retain their function; this mass does not alter the surrounding tissues (e.g. wart, mole), but if it presses on an organ, it must be removed.

Malignant tumour (cancer)

A mass of cancerous cells that can invade and destroy healthy neighbouring tissues and migrate to other parts of the body to form metastasis. A distinction is made between solid tumours and cancers of blood cells (haematologic malignancies)

Carcinoma/adenocarcinoma

Tumours are formed on tissues that cover an external (skin, mucous membranes) or internal (digestive tract, glands) surface of the body (breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer)

Sarcomas

A distinction is made between soft tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma (osteosarcoma): Soft tissue sarcoma develops in the connective or supporting tissues (adipose, fibrous, blood and synovial tissues; muscles, lymph vessels and peripheral nerves) and is relatively rare in adults. Osteosarcoma, or bone sarcoma, is mainly formed on long bones (femur, tibia) or flat bones (ribs, sternum).

Lymphoma

A malignant tumour that develops in the lymph nodes and vessels (the body’s immune system); a distinction is made between Hodgkin lymphoma (a rare disease that affects certain types of lymphocytes) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Myeloma

Cancer of plasma cells (white blood cells in the bone marrow), which can affect the bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cells in the blood.

Leukaemia

Blood and bone marrow cancer affects the production of blood cells (white blood cells).

Mesothelioma

Tumour of the tissue surrounding the lungs (pleura), the abdominal cavity (peritoneum) or the heart (pericardium).

Melanoma – skin cancer

Tumour that develops from skin cells, melanocytes.

Glioma

Brain tumour which can develop in the brain and other parts of the nervous system (brain stem, spine).

Metastasis

Tumours formed by cancer cells that have broken away from the ‘primary tumour’ (first tumour) and which – via the lymph or blood vessels – have migrated to another part of the body (lung, bone, brain, liver).

Risk factors

It is now known that many cancers are caused by a genetic component. But there are also many external risk factors, resulting from environmental factors or individual lifestyles. These include:

  • Ageing
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Pollutants and other harmful substances
  • UV rays
  • Hereditary or genetic factors
     

Cancer treatment

The objectives are:

- Remove the tumour (tumour tissue), enabling long-term recovery
- Reduce tumour size to minimise any complications, organ compression, invasion of healthy tissue, etc.
- Prevent recurrence
- Avoid or manage the formation of metastasis
- Relieve pain and any other symptoms

There are currently three main areas of treatment – oncological surgery, systemic treatment, also known as «medical oncology» and radiotherapy/radiation oncology – which are often combined in the therapeutic approach offered to the patient for the best possible chance of finding a cure.

Neoadjuvant

Adjuvant

Palliative care

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Medical oncology

Surgical oncology

Radio-oncology

Radiology

Hematology

Nuclear medicine

Treatment pathway

The treatment pathways at our centres offer patients and their loved ones the best possible conditions to cope with a cancer diagnosis and its treatment.

Diagnosis

A clinical examination, suspect image or abnormal biological result may require a patient to consult a specialist who, if necessary, will perform additional examinations to either reject or confirm a cancer diagnosis.

A multidisciplinary conference (Tumour Board), brings together all the specialists involved in the oncology treatment pathway, these are radiology, pathology,nuclear medicine,surgical oncology, medical oncology,radiotherapy, plastic and reconstructive surgery, etc., each specific case is examined in detail and the best possible treatment strategy is discussed and established.

Treatment

The proposed treatment will be based on the latest national and international clinical practice recommendations, developed by specialists in the field and taking account of each patient’s individual condition, physical and mental resources, environment, needs and wishes.

Supportive care

In order to better manage the impact of the disease or the adverse effects of treatments, patients may be offered supportive care or – in a more structured form – outpatient cancer rehabilitation programmes.

Support

As soon as the diagnosis is given, the medical and paramedical team is on hand to answer any questions or concerns that the patient or their loved ones may have. This support covers physical, psychological, social, family and professional areas, among others, ensuring patients are as well-equipped as possible when planning their treatment pathway.

Research and Studies – Science & Innovation Swiss Medical Network

The doctors of Swiss Cancer Care and Swiss Medical Network are actively involved in research – the following studies are currently being conducted in oncology:

PREVENT
SAKK 96-12 (REDUCE)
SAKK 23-16 (TAXIS)
SAKK 23-18 (VISION I)
RIBELLE
MyRisk
HEDGE

Would you like to learn more about the research work at Swiss Cancer Care and Swiss Medical Network? Click here Annual Report Science & Innovation SMN.

Genolier Foundation

A financing fund for medical research and training 

In order to provide optimum care and state-of-the-art therapies, the Genolier Foundation sponsors clinical research projects and training in areas such as high-end biotechnology in collaboration with internationally renowned institutions such as the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and AGORA (CHUV).

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Cancer centres

Centre du Sein Clinique Générale-Beaulieu

Radio-oncology

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Swiss Oncology Network

Brustcentrum Zürich

Radiology

CyberKnife® System

Nuclear medicine

Pathology

Hematology

Find a doctor

Our specialists have many years of experience. We guarantee a quick, professionally competent clarification and consultation as well as treatment according to the most modern possibilities.