Cancer and Contemporary Therapeutic Approaches


Cancer is a hazardous disease due to its appearance patterns and potential lethality. It results from cell mutations, which occur randomly and can, therefore, affect any person at any time with no prior symptoms or indications. Furthermore, advanced stages of cancer are often incurable and lead to the death of the person affected by the condition. However, if a tumor is detected before it can expand and create further issues, it may often be removed or suppressed. Therefore, understanding the particulars of the illness, its diagnosis and staging process, complications, and treatment patterns is essential for medical practitioners. This essay describes the basic traits of cancer and contemporary therapeutic approaches to the condition.

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Diagnosis and Staging

Cancer tends to manifest as pain, weight loss, fatigue, or a variety of other symptoms. However, most of these indicators begin expressing themselves strongly late, and, like Chandra, Tan, and Singh (2017) note, patients tend to seek treatment in terminal stages of the condition. As such, medical researchers continuously work on creating tools that can detect cancer early on and prevent the development of the disease. Chandra et al. (2017) mention screening for the presence of specific biomarkers in a variety of body fluids as a promising approach. However, the technology is still in the experimental stage, and biopsies and scans are currently the most popular tools for cancer diagnosis.

Once the diagnosis is complete, staging takes place, as the condition requires treatments that change based on its severity. The American Joint Committee on Cancer (2016) uses the TNM system, deciphered as “primary tumor (T), the involvement of regional lymph nodes (N), and the presence or absence of distant metastases (M)” (p. 3). Each stage description is also accompanied by a description of its window, which may be clinical, pathological, posttherapy, recurrence, or autopsy. The American Joint Committee on Cancer (2016) separates T into five levels and two additional categories, describes four levels for N and lists an “unknown” designation, and uses two M levels. Higher numbers mean greater severity in that particular category, with increased sizes or amounts.

Complications and Side Effects

While cancer tumors are dangerous by themselves, they tend to exacerbate the threat by creating a variety of other issues. Metastases are among the best-known and most concerning, as it becomes incredibly challenging to remove a tumor once it spreads throughout the body. Basbinar and Kocal (2018) describe liver, bone, brain, lungs, and other organs as areas that can be affected by this complication. Sometimes, it is impossible to tell where cancer began because of the presence of multiple developed tumors. Metastases are concerning because their treatment is extremely challenging and often impossible, and the possibility of their emergence is the primary reason why early detection mechanisms are necessary for cancer.

The effects of spreading cancer are particularly notable in bones, where tumors can weaken structures and lead to a variety of significant impediments. Tsuzuki, Park, Eber, Peters, and Shiozawa (2016) list examples such as bone pain, hypercalcemia, fractures, spinal cord compression, and cancer cachexia. Skeletal complications can have severe adverse effects on the patients’ ability to move and their general well-being. However, Tsuzuki et al. (2016) note that the biological mechanisms through which cancer affects bone marrow are still unknown, and the effects of the skeletal complications of the disease on survival require further research. Nevertheless, they are known to damage the patient’s well-being significantly and need addressing.

There are many more varieties of complications, as cancer may manifest in most parts of the body. According to Simpson et al. (2015), colorectal cancer liver metastases, and the hepatic injury associated with them lead to increased splenic volume and thrombocytopenia. Increases in size interfere with the spleen’s functioning, reducing its ability to filter the patient’s blood. As a result, the amount of thrombocytes in it falls, which leads to issues such as spontaneous and increased bleeding and the emergence of bruises on the body. Thrombocytopenia can be challenging to detect before its symptoms begin manifesting, which usually occurs in severe stages of the condition. As such, careful oversight is necessary during cancer treatment for the detection of various issues as they arise.

Many treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy or surgery, may be considered invasive and damaging to the body. Virani et al. (2016) identify cardiotoxicity as a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among people who undergo successful treatment and are cured of cancer. It is possible that prior cardiovascular conditions and risk factors are amplified by the methods used to combat the disease and can eventually manifest in a more severe form. While other organs may be affected by the same issues, the heart is especially dangerous due to its importance to the body’s functioning. As such, both medical workers and patients should remain careful and vigilant even after treatments conclude, and the threat of cancer has been diminished or eradicated.

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Treatment Methods

The physical effects of cancer can be treated in a variety of ways that are appropriate for specific issues. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, and others are among the best-known methods. However, it is also essential to address the problems present in specific areas that are receiving conventional treatments. Elad et al. (2015) describe the importance of oral care in the prevention of complications in patients undergoing chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Other varieties of cancer and treatments require different care methods, and a high degree of attention is necessary for general due to the patient’s weakness. Furthermore, incurable varieties of the condition demand the use of a different set of methods that are focused on end-of-life care.

Psychological approaches to quality of life improvement in cancer patients are particularly important, as the nature of the condition tends to demoralize people. According to de la Torre-Luque, Gambara, López, and Cruzado (2015), psychological interventions improved the well-being of a variety of patients, including people who had been treated and had to adjust. Potential methods include exercising, relaxation, counseling, social gatherings of people with similar issues, and medication such as antidepressants for severe cases. Learning to cope with stress is the critical factor, as the ability reduces the likelihood of depression and possibly reduces the severity of symptoms.


Cancer is an extremely dangerous disease, but it can be treated if the condition is Cancer is a perilous disease, but it can be treated if the condition is detected early. It is usually discovered through scans and biopsy, but new methods based on biomarkers are emerging. The most commonly used staging system is TNM, which consists of a variety of descriptors of different meanings and severities. Cancer can result in numerous complications, with metastases being the most severe. Furthermore, the treatments for the condition damage the body and can lead to heart-related concerns. When treating cancer through approaches such as chemotherapy or surgery, medical workers should consider the prevention of potential complications. Furthermore, psychological interventions are useful for reducing stress, preventing depression, and reducing the severity of the symptoms.


American Joint Committee on Cancer. (2016). AJCC cancer staging manual. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Basbinar, Y., & Kocal, G. C. (Eds.). (2018). Cancer metastasis. London, United Kingdom: IntechOpen.

Chandra, P., Tan, Y. N., & Singh, S. P. (2017). Next-generation point-of-care biomedical sensors technologies for cancer diagnosis. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

de la Torre-Luque, A., Gambara, H., López, E., & Cruzado, J. A. (2016). Psychological treatments to improve quality of life in cancer contexts: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 16(2), 211-219.

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Elad, S., Raber-Durlacher, J. E., Brennan, M. T., Saunders, D. P., Mank, A. P., Zadik, Y.,… & Passweg, J. R. (2015). Basic oral care for hematology–oncology patients and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients: A position paper from the joint task force of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology (MASCC/ISOO) and the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT). Supportive Care in Cancer, 23(1), 223-236.

Simpson, A. L., Leal, J. N., Pugalenthi, A., Allen, P. J., DeMatteo, R. P., Fong, Y.,… & Shia, J. (2015). Chemotherapy-induced splenic volume increase is independently associated with major complications after hepatic resection for metastatic colorectal cancer. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 220(3), 271-280.

Tsuzuki, S., Park, S. H., Eber, M. R., Peters, C. M., & Shiozawa, Y. (2016). Skeletal complications in cancer patients with bone metastases. International Journal of Urology, 23(10), 825-832.

Virani, S. A., Dent, S., Brezden-Masley, C., Clarke, B., Davis, M. K., Jassal, D. S.,… & Simmons, C. (2016). Canadian Cardiovascular Society guidelines for evaluation and management of cardiovascular complications of cancer therapy. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 32(7), 831-841.

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