Cancer is a chronic disease that emanates from genetic mutations, which causes cells to lose their cellular regulation mechanisms and grow uncontrollably. The uncontrolled growth of cells in the body forms cancerous cells that affect tissues and organs in where they occur or spread to other tissues and organs in the body via the lymphatic system and the circulatory system. The causes of cancer are exposure to carcinogenic substances and radiations, infections such as human papillomavirus, hepatitis, obesity, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity (Purandare & Rangarajan, 2015). Common symptoms associated with cancer are chronic pain, loss of weight, a growth of a swelling, internal bleeding, headache, and seizures amongst others. In the description of the approach to cancer care, this essay examines the approach to care, diagnosis of cancer, staging of cancer, complications associated with cancer, side effects of treatment, and methods of alleviating effects.
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page
Approach to Care
The current approach to cancer care is a multidisciplinary approach, which entails diagnosis, treatment, and management interventions for cancer. Early diagnosis of cancer is critical since detection before it grows, develops, and spreads into other cells and tissues in the body. In this view, oncologists and patients ought to corporate in the diagnosis of cancer at early stages. Following diagnosis, oncologists employ one or more treatment methods depending on the magnitude, spread, and location of a tumor. A combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation is effective in the removal of cancerous cells and the killing of the ones that remain or try to metastasize. Immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy apply in instances where oncologists want to target specific cancerous cells in the body. In the management of cancer, healthcare providers collaborate in the provision of palliative care. According to Balducci and Donal (2016), palliative care involves managing symptoms, empowering patients to understand the essence of treatment, providing guidance on treatment, offering psychotherapy, and giving social support. Thus,
Diagnosis of Cancer
For effective treatment and management of cancer, early diagnosis is essential because it allows detection of cancer at the nascent stages where it has no or minimal effects on a patient. Diagnosis of cancer commences with the physical examination of a patient to analyze signs and symptoms presented. In physical examination, oncologists review signs and symptoms that patients present and relate them to sites where there are lumps and pain. Once the physical examination confirms that the signs and symptoms presented are for cancer, oncologists request further diagnosis using imaging techniques. The common imaging techniques are x-rays, ultrasound, endoscopy, positron emission tomography (PET scan), computed tomography (CT scan), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan).
These imaging techniques enhance diagnosis of cancer for they indicate the location of cancer in the body and determination of the organs or tissues affected (Purandare & Rangarajan, 2015). Subsequently, oncologists confirm the location and tissues affected and perform the pathological examination of tissues. Pathological examination entails biopsy of cells and tissues affected by cancer, microscopic examination of a biopsy specimen to identify cancerous cells, and genetic analysis to identify oncogenes. Pathology provides a definitive diagnosis of cancer because it confirms the existence of cancerous cells in the affected tissue and the nature of genes that are responsible for the occurrence of cancer in the body.
Staging of Cancer
Staging of cancer is critical for effective treatment and accurate prognosis of cancer in a given time. Since cancer grows and spreads, staging enables oncologists to determine the magnitude of the primary tumor and its extent of metastasis in the body. The basis of cancer staging is on its mechanism of growth, development, and spread in the body. Cancer staging aims to identify the location of the primary tumor, the magnitude of tumors, the extent of involvement in lymph node, and the extent of spread to distant cells and tissues through metastasis. Oncologists use diagnosis methods such as physical examination, imaging techniques, and pathological examination in determining the stage of cancer in various tissues and organs in the body.
The American Joint Committee on Cancer established the tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) system, which is a common and standardized system employed in staging cancer (Ramos, Franch, Zaforteza, Artero, & Durán, 2015). In the TNM system, T measures the magnitude of a tumor, N measures the magnitude of tumor spread, and M measures the extent of metastasis. However, contemporary practice classifies cancer stages into four categories from the least severe form to the most severe form. According to Ramos et al. (2015), cancer is small and superficial in its location at stage I while it is large and deep in its location at stage II (Ramos et al., 2015). At stage III, cancer spreads within the tissue and organs, whereas at stage IV, cancer undergoes metastasis by spreading to distant tissues and organs.
Complications of Cancer
As a chronic disease, cancer has complex complications associated with its pathophysiology and therapy. Chronic pain is one of the major complications associated with the growth and development of cancer. Pain emanates from the pressure exerted on cells, tissues, and organs in the body as cancerous cells grow and develop into a huge lump in the body. Moreover, as cancerous cells release chemicals into the body, they trigger extreme pain all over the body. Park, Chung, Song, and Choi (2014) explain that when a tumor grows in the brain, spinal cord, and adjacent to main nerves, it causes neurologic impairments resulting in disability among patients. Additional, severe headache occurs in brain tumor because it exerts a lot of pressure on the brain cells.
100% original paper
on any topic
done in as little as
The presence of cancerous cells in the body trigger an autoimmune disease called paraneoplastic syndrome, which makes the body to destroy its cells (Kanaji et al., 2015). Weight loss is a complication associated with cancer because cancerous cells deprive the body of its nutrients and use them in the growth and development of a tumor. Additionally, cancer upset chemical balances in the body and causes individuals to experience constipation, frequent urination, nausea, difficulties in breathing, fatigue, and excessive thirst. Since cancerous cells grow and develop into a tumor, their ability to spread through metastasis is a serious complication because it spreads cancerous cells in the body and causes a systemic occurrence of cancer.
Side Effects of Treatment
Treatment of cancer has numerous side effects, which vary according to the nature of the therapy employed. Although surgery is the most effective treatment method, its side effects include pain, increased risk to infections, and metastasis of cancerous cells (Balducci & Donald, 2016). The use of radiotherapy has enduring side effects such as loss of hearing, damage to the brain, blindness, brain cancer, and dry mouth. Chemotherapy has many side effects on patients with cancer for it causes nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems, delirium, hair loss, pain, constipation, anemia, and edema (Balducci & Donald, 2016). Immunotherapy has side effects such as pain, soreness, rashes, itchiness, redness, and swelling at the site of injection and causes fever, fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, fever, chills, and diarrhea.
Methods of Lessen Physical and Psychological Effects
To alleviate physical effect such as fatigue, cancer patients need to have adequate rest and participate in activity programs aimed at boosting their stamina to overcome tiredness. Given that pain the dominant sign and symptom of cancer, cancer patients need to manage its effects by continuously monitoring and rating their pain levels on a pain scale, use massage, ice packs, and hot water bottles in alleviating pain, and take pain relief medications (Balducci & Donald, 2016). To alleviate nausea and vomiting, cancer patients need to take food in small portions, avoid oily, spicy, and sweet foods, brush teeth to eliminate nauseating taste, and regularly take anti-nauseating medications. Lessen constipation and diarrhea by taking copious fluids and eating food rich in fiber. Since cancer patients endure psychological distress, Castelli, Gastelnuovo, and Torta (2015) recommend the provision of caregivers, social support, and psychotherapy to improve the prognosis of cancer. Hence, cancer patients need to understand ways of managing physical and psychological effects of cancer.
In cancer care, a multidisciplinary approach is appropriate to ensure that there is an early and accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and provision of palliative care. Diagnosis methods comprise physical examination, the use of imaging techniques, and pathological examination of cells and tissues. Chronic pain, neurologic impairments, autoimmune disease, weight loss, and metastasis are some of the complications associated with cancer. Treatment has numerous side effects depending on the treatment methods. To improve prognosis and treatment of cancer, cancer patients need to alleviate physical and psychological effects they experience.
Balducci, L., & Donald, B. (2016). Palliative care of cancer in the older patient. Current Oncology Reports, 18(12), 1-10. Web.
Castelli, L., Gastelnuovo, G., & Torta, R. (2015). Psych-oncology: Clinical psychology for cancer patients-cancer: The key role of clinical psychology. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(47), 1-3. Web.
Park, E., Chung, E., Song, H., & Choi, S. (2014). Inexplicable abdominal pain due to thoracic spinal cord tumor. Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine, 38(2), 273-276. Web.
Purandare, C., & Rangarajan, V. (2015). Imaging of lung cancer: Implications on staging and management. The Indian Journal of Radiology & Imaging, 25(2), 109-120. Web.
Kanaji, N., Watanabe, N., Kita, N., Bandoh, S., Tadokoro, A., Ishii, T., … Matsunaga, T. (2014). Paraneoplastic syndromes associated with lung cancer. World Journal of Clinical Oncology, 5(3), 197-223. Web.
Ramos, M., Franch, P., Zaforteza, M., Artero, J., & Durán, M. (2015). Completeness of T, N, M and stage grouping for all cancers in the Mallorca Cancer Registry. BMC Cancer, 15 (847), 1-6. Web.