Cancer Diagnosis and Staging, Complications And Treatment Side Effects

Approach to Care of Cancer Assignment Instructions

Write a 1,250-1,750 words paper describing the approach to care of cancer. In addition, include the following in your paper:

  • Describe the diagnosis and staging of cancer.
  • Describe at least three complications of cancer, the side effects of treatment, and methods to lessen physical and psychological effects.

Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

Cancer Diagnosis and Staging, Complications And Treatment Side Effects – Sample Answer


Cancer is a broad term used to refer a group of over 100 diseases which are caused by abnormal growth of body cells. Cancer begins when cells in a certain body part start to grow uncontrollably. Normally, body cell grow and divide to create new cells while the old ones die. Rather than dying cells in cancer continue to grow and create new, abnormal cells. They can also attack normal cells. This changes the normal functioning of the body and cancer develop.

Cancer Diagnosis and Staging

Cancer diagnosis stated with medical history and physical examination of the patient. Patient symptoms history normally act as the initial step to cancer diagnosis. The medical service provider may order for more advanced tests after suspecting a patient could be having cancer based on symptoms history and physical examination. Some of the test that are commonly used to detect cancer include imaging studies such as ultrasound, pet scan, Nuclear scan, X-rays, MRI scan, and CT scan are tools that are commonly used to evaluate any structural abnormality in the parts of the body suspected to be containing cancer.

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Biopsy is another technique used to diagnose cancer. This is a technique where doctors get tissues sample from the patient body, which are then by a pathologist under a microscope to evaluate if they contain cancer tissues. These samples may be extracted using a needle to draw fluid or tissues, with an endoscope or with surgery which may either be incisional or excisional. Endoscopy test can also be used visualize bronchi, throat, intestinal track tissues to see if they are cancerous. In addition, radionuclide scanning can also be employed which is a test that entails IV injection or ingestion of a weakly radioactive material which can be detected and concentrated in abnormal tissues. One or more of these test are used to diagnose cancer. In other cases intensive blood analysis, to establish levels of electrolyte and blood count is done to obtain more information (Davis & Balentine, 2014).

Cancer staging is a technique used by researchers and clinicians to establish the level of cancer in the patient body and its exact location, if scattered or localized.  Staging is normally used to assist in treatment planning. Cancer is treated based on its stage of development and despite different types of cancers, similar treatment can be provided to individuals in same stage of cancer development. Stating is founded on usually understood cancer spreads and development knowledge. It is founded on five major aspects that include tumors extent and size. Primary tumor location, involvement of lymph node distant metastasis absence or presence, and tumor grade and cell type. The cancer staging is done based on the above described test results and also the patient surgical report.

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This enhances the staging of cancer into four different stages that include clinical staging, pathological staging, post-neoadjuvant therapy or post-therapy staging, and restaging. Clinical staging establishes the level of cancer founded on biopsies, imaging tests, and physical examination of the impacted area. Pathological staging can only be evaluated from patients that have gone through surgical operation for tumor removal or to explore the cancer extent. Clinical staging test are used in combination to surgical results. Post-therapy established the level of remaining cancer after the first patient treatment with radiation therapy or systemic; hormone or chemotherapy before the surgery. Restaging is employed to establish the disease extent is the cancer is found after completion of treatment (AJCC, 2015).

Complications of Cancer

Cancer and cancer treatment are related to a number of complication to the life and health of a person suffering from the disease. Some of these complications include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, breathing difficulties, constipation or diarrhea, weight loss, changes in body chemical, pain, nervous systems and brain problem, unusual reactions of the immune system to cancer, spreading cancer and cancer which returns. The paper reflects on three main complications that include pain, body chemical changes and weight loss.

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Cancer treatment and cancer cause weight loss since cancer cells takes food from normal cells and thus reducing their level nutrients. This is a hard condition to treat since it is not determined by food eaten or level of calories.  Cancer can distressed the normal balance of chemicals in the body and raise the patient’s risk of developing serious complications, symptoms and signs of chemical imbalances include confusion, excessive thirst, constipation, and frequent urination. Pain is among the most serious complication that cancer can cause on a patient. Pain can result from cancer treatment or cancer. However, not all types of cancers are painful. Pain can be managed using medications or any other recommendable technique that can be employed to handle cancer-associated pain (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2015).

Side Effects of Treatment

Cancer can be treated using four major techniques. They include surgery to eliminate cancerous cells or tissues, radiotherapy where by radiation is employed to destroy cancer cells, chemotherapy where drugs are utilized to slow the cancer cells growth or to destroy them, and finally, hormone therapy where hormones sensitive cancer is controlled by use of hormones. Cancer treatment can cause different side effects based on the kind of treatment provided. Surgery is normally associated with excessive pain. However, chemotherapy is associated with the highest number of side effects.

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Chemotherapy side effects include infection, anemia, hair loss, pain, vomiting and nausea, fatigue, problem of blood clotting, throat, gum and mouth problems, constipation and diarrhea, muscles and nerve effects nails and skin effects, radiation recall, bladder and kidney effects,  flu-like symptoms, effects on sexuality and sexual organs, and fluid reaction. Hormones therapy mostly result to similar sides effects as chemo therapy. Radio therapy result to chest pain, difficulties in breathing, nausea and vomiting among others. However, these side effects depend on the actual position of radiation in the body. For instance, radiation at the pelvic can cause sexual problems, bladder irritation, rectal bleeding and diarrhea (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Psychosocial Services to Cancer Patients/Families in a Community Setting, 2008).

Methods to Lessen Physical and Psychological Effects.

Cancer is a serious disease which is associated with high rate of death and high demand of finances to control it. It is also associated with a number of health discomfort to the patient. In this regard, cancer is highly associated with psychological effects, besides the above discussed physical effects. In this regard, cancer patients requires support and care to enhance their strength to fight the disease. One way to reduce physical and psychological effect of cancer is by obtaining as much knowledge as it is possible to manage and handle the particular cancer the patient is suffering from. This will improve personal care and family care to the patient. The hospital handling the patient should consider educating the patient and the family members about the disease and the measures they should employ to ease both psychological and physical stressor related with cancer.

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The patient should also be provided with social support for instance joining foundation with cancer patients and cancer survivor so as to share their suffering to learn more about cancer management and to obtain hope for survival from cancer survivors. The foundations also assist in financing patients’ treatment and thus, this can ease the financial stress. The health care system should try to support the patient in the best way possible this include offering treatment, advise and talking to patients trying to give them hope. They should also ensure thorough diagnosis of the condition has been done to ensure that the best treatment is done based on the cancer level of spreading or type. Health system should also avoid delayed treatment for cancer to avoid further development before treatment. They should also apply evidence based pain management strategies to nurture cancer patients in pain (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Psychosocial Services to Cancer Patients/Families in a Community Setting, 2008).

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