Cancer Management

Introduction

Cancer refers to any dangerous and abnormal mass of tissue caused by hysterical dissection of cells in the body. It spreads to various parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream (Borg & Rosenthal, 2006). Cancer affects the functioning of various body parts depending on their location and stage of development. Some of the body parts where cancer is normally diagnosed include bones, head, neck, breasts, cervix, lungs, blood cells, and the throat among others. Effective management of cancer entails timely and effective diagnosis, treatment, as well as lessening the effect of physical and psychological complications (Peterson & Sonis, 2009). Studies have established that cancer treatment leads to a number of complications. Complications are dealt with depending on the treatment stage at which they are identified (Borg & Rosenthal, 2006). Cancer treatment has several side effects that include both physical and psychological distress. Diagnosis and staging are important processes that play a crucial role in effective management of cancer. Cancer is effectively managed when doctors have good knowledge of where it is located and the extent to which it has spread throughout the body.

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Diagnosis and staging of cancer

Research has established that diagnosis and staging of cancer are crucial processes that contribute to effective management of the disease. Diagnosis refers to the process of identifying the nature and cause of cancer (Peterson & Sonis, 2009). Cancer experts use a number of approaches to conduct a diagnosis. Some of the commonly used approaches include biopsy, endoscopy, diagnostic images such as X-rays, and blood tests among others. Biopsy refers to the examination of body tissues or liquids to determine the existence of cancer cells. Endoscopy refers to visual examination of the interior of a hollow body organ using an endoscope (Borg & Rosenthal, 2006). Technological advancements have increased the efficiency of various diagnostic approaches used by experts. This has resulted in improved management of the disease. On the other hand, staging refers to the process of establishing the location of cancer in the body and the severity of its development (Peterson & Sonis, 2009). Staging helps practitioners to develop a treatment plan for every patient. Apart from establishing the right treatment option, practitioners also use staging to predict where the disease is likely to spread.

Staging of cancer helps experts to identify any tumors developing in the body (Borg & Rosenthal, 2006). The tumors are often examined for the presence of cancer cells. According to cancer experts, staging is more effective if it is done during the process of diagnosis and before treatment. Staging of cancer applies under two major categories, namely clinical and pathological (Peterson & Sonis, 2009). Clinical staging involves estimating the severity of the disease depending on results from tissue examination and imaging. It helps doctors in identifying the best treatment approach and analyzing various responses to treatment. On the other hand, pathological staging involves conducting the appropriate surgical procedures in order to check and remove any cancer cells. In some instances, the results of clinical staging can influence the kind of surgical procedures carried out during pathological staging.

Staging of cancer applies a system commonly as TNM (Peterson & Sonis, 2009). The system incorporates primary tumors (T), lymph nodes (N) and metastasis (M). The cancer reporting system helps to identify the location and size of primary tumors, as well as the effect they have on various body tissues. The system also categorizes cancer found in lymph nodes according to their specific numbers (Peterson & Sonis, 2009). The lymph nodes are often categorized depending on how close they were to the primary tumors. At this stage, cancer is categorized as either having spread or not having spread. The TNM system applies in staging cancer into five levels depending on the location of primary tissues, the size of lymph nodes, and the degree at which it has spread (Peterson & Sonis, 2009).

Cancer complications

Studies have established that there are numerous cancer related complications that patient experience. Cancer complications are categorized as mental, emotional or physical (Dicato, 2012). These complications develop out of the approaches used for treatment. For example, experts argue that chemotherapy leads to side effects such as anemia, memory changes, infection and bleeding problems. In addition, they argue that cancer patients are often moody, sad, anxious, and in a grief mode. These complications often have serious effects on patients to an extent that some of them shy away from seeking help. Other notable cancer complications include pain, weight loss, constipation, fatigue, depression, and sleep disorders among others (Dicato, 2012). Pain is mainly caused by the treatment approach chosen by doctors. Some treatment options are very painful, especially if they involve surgical processes and injections. The best approach for managing this complication is through medication and therapy in cases where an individual suffers psychological distress.

Studies have also established that cancer patients experience loss of body weight, especially when they start medication. This complication can be corrected by giving cancer patients a specialized diet that will counter the effects of medication on their body (Dicato, 2012). Experts also encourage patients to take a lot of energy drinks, as they help to boost their appetite and regain lost vitality. Fatigue among cancer patients is caused by factors such as irregular sleeping patterns and radiation therapy treatments. This complication can be managed through medication and physical therapy (Dicato, 2012). The effect of the complications on an individual depends on a number of factors.

Methods of lessening physical and psychological effects of cancer

In order to achieve effective management of cancer, it is imperative to ensure that all side effects are dealt with in a substantial manner. Surviving cancer is a very long process that requires a patient to have the care and support of their loved ones. Both physical and psychological effects of cancer are felt from the time the disease is diagnosed, through the treatment process and even beyond the survivorship (Greene & Heniford, 2010). According to experts, cancer patients go through three phases of the disease. The patients have to live with cancer, survive through it and exist beyond it. Patients experience the side effects through all the three phases. During the first phase, patients go through treatment, which can be very painful. One of the best methods of dealing with the effects of this phase is enrolling patients for clinical trials. This will help them to understand various forms of treatments, their side effects and the best therapies for managing any pain (Greene & Heniford, 2010). In addition, hospitals should offer counseling services to cancer patients before their begin treatment.

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The second phase is the most painful to many patients. Surviving through cancer has more side effects because a patient is often under medication. The best way to lessen the distress associated with cancer treatment in this phase is to have regular checkups with the doctor, therapy, counseling, and ensuring the support of loved ones (Greene & Heniford, 2010). Patients can also join social groups where they can mingle and share their experiences with fellow patients. This will make them to erase any trauma and fears of their being an isolated case. The third phase of living beyond cancer is as equally important as all the other phases. The best method of lessening the complications at this phase is developing a long-term treatment plan with a doctor. This should be done immediately after diagnosis in order to ensure that a doctor has enough time to predict how the disease will develop (Greene & Heniford, 2010). A long-term treatment plan is important because of complications that arise due to the cancer that returns. In addition, patients should also continue seeking the services of a therapist because they can be easily overwhelmed by memories of their experiences during treatment.

Conclusion

Effective management of cancer entails timely and effective diagnosis, treatment, as well as lessening the effects of physical and psychological complications. Studies have established that cancer treatment leads to a number of complications. Diagnosis and staging of cancer are crucial processes that contribute to effective management of the disease. Staging of cancer helps experts to identify any tumors developing in the body. Cancer complications are categorized as mental, emotional or physical.

References

Borg, S.A. & Rosenthal, S.N. (2006). Handbook of Cancer Diagnosis and Staging: A Clinical Atlas. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

Dicato, M.A. (2012). Side Effects of Medical Cancer Therapy: Prevention and Treatment. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

Greene, F.L. & Heniford, B.T. (2010). Minimally Invasive Cancer Management. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

Peterson, D.E. & Sonis, S.T. (2009). Oral Complications of Cancer Chemotherapy. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

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