A branch of medicine that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It includes medical oncology (the use of chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and other drugs to treat cancer), radiation oncology (the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer), and surgical oncology (the use of surgery and other procedures to treat cancer).(*)
Cytotoxic drugs are agents known to be highly toxic to cells through cell reproduction and are mainly intended for the treatment of cancer. These are designed to prevent the rapid growth and division of cancer cells. Most of these medicines are carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic.
Occupational exposure may occur through inhalation of the aerosol or airborne dust generated during manipulation, absorption through the skin or direct spilling or needle stick injuries in the transport, preparation, and handling of these drugs.
The focus of safety during cytotoxic drug preparation is to eliminate or reduce health risks which are implemented through the establishment of written protocols, education and training of personnel, efficient planning and design of the workplace, and use of specialized equipment. Cytotoxic drug safety cabinets, pharmaceutical isolators, and other appropriate equipment are recommended to facilitate safe preparation of chemotherapeutic drugs and to ensure that products, operator, and working environment are protected.
It should be noted that when dealing with volatile compounds or substances which have tendency to volatilize, an equipment with a dedicated exhaust system ducted outside the facility must be used.