Approach to Care for Cancer


Approachto Care for Cancer

Approachto Care for Cancer

Beforefocusing on the approach to care for cancer it is important to lookinto its diagnosis. It is the affected tissue that often undergoes abiopsy the surgical removal of a small portion of tissue from anindividual. It is through the biopsy that doctors observe thepresence or absence of tumors. In the event where they are present,the doctor observes whether they are cancerous or not. Canceroustumors are often referred to as malignant while those that arenon-cancerous are known as benign (Gearhart &amp Ahuja, 2010). Asaforementioned the diagnosis of cancer should be looked into beforeconcentrating on the approach to care. Additionally the stages ofcancer, the complications, the side effects of the treatment, and theways to curb effects of cancer should be discussed. Theaforementioned order should be followed in order to realize theeffective approach to care for cancer (Deslauriers et al., 2013).

Itis the results of the diagnosis that often determine the next step inwhich the patients should take. In the event the tumor is malignantthe doctor is required to remove it, and observe its fatality. Inaddition, it is important for the doctor to also observe the rate atwhich the cancer is growing. Observation of the tumors takes placeunder a microscope. The fatal tumors often faintly resemble thenormal tissues or do not resemble them at all (Deslauriers et al.,2013). As opposed to those that are similar to the tissues, thesetumors exhibit a rapid growth, and quickly spread in the body. Abiopsy not only determines the presence of cancer but, also the typeof the cancer, and the behavior of the tumor.

Cancerstaging refers to the process in which the physicians are able tolearn the extent in which the cancer has affected an individual’ssystem. It is through the staging that the doctor learns how far thecancer has spread in the body. According to, there are four stages ofcancer In situ, local, regional, and distant. In situ stage refersto the early cancer that has not spread to other surrounding tissues.The local stage is present in the organ in which the cancer emanatedfrom. The regional stage is where the cancer has spread to otheradjacent tissues. The last stage distant comes about when thecancer has spread to the whole system (Liu et al., 2012). As cancersbegin to spread they are classified apropos of the extent to whichthey spread in the body. According to the medical community there isalso the classification of the stages of cancer. The stages are stage1, stage 2, stage 3, and stage 4. These stages are similar inrelation to the aforementioned stages. It should be noted howeverthat the in situ stage falls under stage 0. The rest of the stagesare at par, and follow each consecutively as above mentioned(Gearhart &amp Ahuja, 2010).

Stagingis important because all cancers are different. The way in which onecancer spreads is not the way in which the other spreads. For thisreason, it is mandatory to observe the stages of cancer. Other thanby the use of a biopsy staging may be realized by the use ofMagnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI), a computed tomography (CT scan),X-rays, blood tests or surgeries. The process of staging is importantbecause it assists in determining the cause of the cancer, thefatality of the cancer, and the stage of the cancer (Liu et al.,2012).

Afterdiagnosis, and staging there are various complications of cancerobserved depending on the extent of the spread. Firstly, there ispain. In fact, pain is an inevitable complication in relation to mostdiseases. In as much as not all cancers are painful there are thosethat cause a lot of pain to an individual. In the event of pain,medications are prescribed in order to counteract this complicationbrought about by cancer. Moreover another major complicationobserved in regard to cancer is weight loss (Deslauriers et al.,2013). More often than not, cancer deprives an individual off foodnutrients, and it is in this manner that weight is lost. Unlikepain weight loss as a complication is difficult to repair in regardto cancer. Another major complication in relation to cancer is thatof change in chemicals in the body. Cancer is fatal as it alters thenormal balance of chemicals in the body. An imbalance in chemicalsoften results in more complications. Other complications brought onby cancer are nausea, fatigue, difficulty in breathing or disruptedbowel movements (Deslauriers et al., 2013).

Furthermoreother than chemotherapy, there are other ways in which cancer istreated. There is radiation therapy, and surgery. It is important toobserve that each of these treatments exhibit certain kinds ofside-effects. All of the treatment methods more or less give rise tothe similar side effects. Firstly, there is the presence of painwhich is a common side-effect especially regarding surgicalprocesses. In fact, pain is caused by cancer itself and is probablyworsened by the surgery. Also there is the presence of fatigue whicha common side-effect apropos of cancer, and its treatments. It isoften difficult to manage the fatigue that comes with cancertreatments because it is more intense as compared to the normalfeelings of tiredness that individuals experience. Fatigue is a majorside-effect, and it causes more distress as compared to the othereffects (Liu et al., 2012). Another common effect observed inrelation to cancer treatments is anemia. Anemia is fatal due to thefact that it involves low supply of oxygen to the cells.Consequently, an individual feels weary, weak, and tired. Radiationtherapy and surgery also results in the building up of the lymphfluid under the fatty tissues of the skin. As a result, an individualdevelops swellings in certain parts of the body (Gearhart &ampAhuja, 2010).

Asobserved above there are many side-effects in relation to cancertreatments. Other than that, it is important to realize that otherthan physical effects there are psychological effects resulting fromdiagnosis of cancer. Handling, and learning to live with cancer isnot an easy thing thus, it is inevitable for individuals to exhibitpsychological effects. Those effects involve depression, anxiety,shock, and fear, feelings of neglect, vulnerability, and grief amongothers. Additionally it is important to note that there are ways inwhich the effects may be curbed whether psychological or physical.For physical effects, most of them are controlled by the use ofprescribed medicine (Gearhart &amp Ahuja, 2010). There are otherways in which individuals may control physical effects such asgetting enough rest, heaviness in body parts, among others but, themain one is medication. On the other hand, there are also ways inwhich psychological effects may be controlled. Seeking professionalcounseling, talking about one’s feelings, employing relaxationtechniques, among others are ways to control the psychologicaleffects (Deslauriers et al., 2013).

Afterdiagnosis, prognosis, staging of the cancer, and realization of theside effects the approach to care for cancer is looked into. Afterbeing admitted in hospital for a long time, or after surgerypatients are required to obtain top notch health care from thecomfort of homes. The professionals who offer to care for the cancerpatients at home are either volunteers or paid professionals. It iseasier for cancer patients to heal at home as compared to being inthe hospital. Most of them often require help with their day to dayactivities such as bathing, cleaning, and cooking. For this reason,the health care professionals are beneficial to them in many ways(Sheldon, 2010).

Insummation, when caring for a patient with cancer it is important toacquaint oneself with the symptoms of the disease. Knowing thesymptoms makes it easier when the caregivers are catering to thecancer patients. Additionally, these professionals are also trainedon observing severe symptoms that are beyond their control. Also, itis important for the caregivers to be able to reach the members ofthe cancer team at any given time. It is those individuals thatassist with the severe symptoms. For example when a patient exhibitsdifficulty in breathing, pain when eating, vomiting for more than 24hours, and is bleeding among others, they are required to contact thecancer team (Sheldon, 2010).


Deslauriers,J., Pearson, F. G., &amp Shamji, F. M. (2013). LungCancer, Part I.London: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Gearhart,S. L., &amp Ahuja, N. (2010). Colorectalcancer.Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier.

Liu,X.-Y., Pestka, S., &amp Shi, Y. (2012). Recentadvances in cancer research and therapy.Burlington: Elsevier Science.

Sheldon,L. K. (2010). Anurse`s guide to caring for cancer survivors.Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Approach to Care for Cancer


Approachto Care for Cancer

Cancerentails a condition, where cells in a given part of the body grow andreproduce in an uncontrollable manner. Once they invade a particularbody part, cancerous cells can attack and destroy healthy tissues andorgans within the neighborhood.

Diagnosisand Staging of Cancer

Incase a patient has a symptom of cancer or screening test suggestscancer, it is critical for a medical practitioner to find out whetherthe symptom indicated is because of cancer or is due to anothercause. During diagnosis, a medical practitioner may enquire about apatient’s history and perform some physical examination. Also, themedical practitioner may carry lab tests, scans, and otherprocedures.


Sincelow or high levels of some substances in the body can be used inindicating that signs of cancer are present, it is important for amedical practitioner to carry out lab tests. Therefore, lab tests ofurine, blood, or other fluids in the body may be used by a medicalpractitioner during the diagnosis. However, although lab tests aremost critical in establishing signs of cancer, they cannot be usedalone in the diagnosis of cancer thus, other procedures or testshave to be used. This also indicates that an abnormal lab result maynot be an indication that a patient has cancer.


Theseare used in creating pictures inside the body of a patient that canhelp a medical practitioner in noticing whether there is the presenceof a tumor. The imaging procedures can be made in different ways thatinclude CT Scan, Nuclear Scan, Ultrasound, PET scan, MRI, and X-rays.These different imaging procedures can help in the diagnosis ofcancer.


Abiopsy describes a procedure, where a medical practitioner removes atissue sample in order to check the tissue for cancer. This isusually done with the aid of a microscope. In the diagnosis ofcancer, most medical practitioners consider biopsy an importantprocedure in the diagnosis. Biopsy may be done by a medicalpractitioner removing a tissue or fluid using a needle, or mayconsider using an endoscope (Compton, 2014). Besides, surgery mayalso be considered for biopsy. The surgery may either incisional orexcisional. Incisional biopsy is where a surgeon only removes part ofa tumor. On the other hand, excisional biopsy entails removing anentire tumor.

Cancerstaging entails describing the severity of the disease duringdiagnosis. This considers taking into account the size and growth ofthe tumor and whether the tumor has spread to surrounding organs,lymph nodes or even distant organs. Understanding the staging ofcancer is crucial since it helps in determining the most effectivetreatment that can be offered to a patient and also helps indetermining the survival of a patient. Although the methods forstaging cancer have evolved over time and keep on changing, thestaging method that will be used in this case is the one that wasdeveloped by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). Thisorganization classifies staging of cancer based on the TNM system.This system describes three most important traits of cancerdevelopment: T is the size and extent of tumor, N is the spread toregional lymph nodes, and M is the presence of distant metastasis.Most cancers are classified into four stages, which are indicated byusing roman numbers I through IV (Compton, 2014). The followingstages describe the four stages


Thiscancer is usually a small cancer or an invasive tumor, which has notdeveloped deeply into the surrounding tissues. Besides, this canceris not spread to either the lymph nodes or to other body parts.


Thiscancer stage indicates tumors, which are usually larger compared tothose in stage I tumors. These tumors are more are more grown anddeveloped into the surrounding tissues or/and spread to the lymphnodes, but not to other body parts.


Thiscancer stage is just like that of Stage II however, the chiefdifference is that the stage III tumors are usually larger comparedto those of stage II.


Thiscancer stage is considered as an advanced stage of cancer. The tumorsare usually large and spread to other organs or body parts.

Complicationsof Cancer

Cancermay lead to complications that can be mild or life threatening. Inthis case, I will discuss the following complications syndrome ofinappropriate antiduretic hormone (SIADH), anaphylactoid reaction,and spinal cord compression (SCC).

Syndromeof Inappropriate Antiduretic Hormone (SIADH)

Thisis a condition, which makes the body of a patient to produce too muchantiduretic hormone (ADH). ADH describes the chemical which helps inkeeping the appropriate balance of body fluids. This condition causesa lot of water to be retained inside the body of a patient, which isdangerous for the proper working of body organs. This condition mayalso result in the decrease of some chemicals in the blood such assalts. A patient having this condition may experience symptoms suchas seizures, hallucinations, nausea, increased thirst, headaches, andfeeling tired among others. Syndrome of inappropriate antiduretichormone may be diagnosed through urine and blood tests, chest x-ray,and liquid challenge test. This condition can be treated through saltsolutions or medicines. Salt solution helps in balancing the salt inthe body of a patient and reduces symptoms. On the other hand,medicines reduce the levels of fluid in the patient’s body.


Theseare allergic reactions, which are potentially relentless andlife-threatening. They usually start with a patient feeling uneasy,followed by tickling sensations as well as dizziness. Patientsusually develop symptoms such as wheezing and difficult breathing,itching and hives, fainting, and swelling among other symptoms(Stosor &amp Zembower, 2014). These reactions need emergencytreatments and affected patients need to always carry epinephrineself-injecting syringe and antihistamines. In most cancer patients,anaphylactoid reaction is usually caused by chemo treatments. Thecondition can be considered severe since it can lead to shock, lowblood pressure, and intermittently death. In treating anaphylactoidreaction that is caused by chemotherapy treatments, drugs such asantihistamines, corticosteroids, and bronchodilators can be used.

SpinalCord Compression (SCC)

Spinalcord compression occurs when the spinal cord is under pressure. Incancer patients, this condition is due to the pressure caused bycancer that starts in the spinal cord or cancer that spreads to thebones of the spine. The condition is most common to patients thathave prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and lymphoma. Thepressure exerted on the spinal cord prevents nerves from workingproperly and makes patients to develop different symptoms. Thesesymptoms may include problems of erection in men, numbness in thesaddle area, pain at the back, changes in sensation, and problems incontrolling bladder or bowel. Symptoms of spinal cord compression maylead to MRI scan or CT scan for diagnosis (Stosor &amp Zembower,2014).

SideEffects of Treatment

Thereare different side effects that can be caused by various cancertreatments. Such side effects include chemotherapy effects, radiationtherapy effects, pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, anaemia,lymphedema, fertility problems, and sexual side effects. Apart frombeing affected physically, cancer patients are also affectedpsychologically. Distress can be used to describe differentpsychological responses of cancer patients that include depressionand anxiety. After a cancer diagnosis and during treatments, cancerpatients have distress. Therefore, both physical and psychologicalside effects are experienced by a cancer patient during the variouscancer treatments (Dicato, 2013).

Methodsto Lessen Physical and Psychological Effects

Oneof the methods that can help in lessening physical side effects isoffering medicines together with chemo. This is critical since it canhelp in protecting other normal body cells. In the case of pain,cancer patients can be given analgesics. Other methods such assurgery, nerve block, and spinal analgesia can be used in relievingphysical effects. In order to lessen the psychological effects, oneof the methods that can be used entails counseling. Giving counselingto cancer patients may help in relieving distress that is associatedwith cancer. Besides, another method entails offering parental orfamily support to cancer patients. Offering family support to cancerpatients may be critical since it may also help in mitigatingdistress that cancer patients may have.

Caringfor Cancer Patients

Whencaring for a cancer patient it is critical to acquaint oneself withthe symptoms of the disease. Knowing the symptoms makes it easierwhen the caregivers are catering to the cancer patients.Additionally, these professionals are also trained on observingsevere symptoms that are beyond their control. Furthermore, it isimportant for the caregivers to be able to reach the members of thecancer team at any given time. It is those individuals that assistwith the severe symptoms. For example when a patient exhibitsdifficulty in breathing, pain when eating, vomiting for more than 24hours, and is bleeding among others, they are required to contact thecancer team (Sheldon, 2010).


Compton,C. C. (2012). AJCCcancer staging atlas: A companion to the seventh editions of the AJCCcancer staging manual and handbook.New York, NY: Springer.

Dicato,M. (2013). Sideeffects of medical cancer therapy: Prevention and treatment.London: Springer.

Sheldon,L. K. (2010). Anurse`s guide to caring for cancer survivors.Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Stosor,V. &amp Zembower, T. R. (2014). Infectiouscomplications in cancer patients.Cham New York : Springer.