Cancer (Approach to Care)

Cancer (Approach to Care)

The American Cancer Society, (2016) notes that close to 1 million new cancer cases are diagnosed yearly in the USA. Such a prevalence rate symbolizes a worrying state that cancer breeds in the contemporary world. As such, a deeper understanding of this condition is necessary for the institutionalization of an appropriate approach of care. That said, this paper aims to foster this understanding by addressing various issues. They include the diagnosis and staging of cancer, its complications, cancer treatment’s side effects, and strategies for lessening the physical and psychological effects associated with cancer. refers to abnormal growth of cells within the body. By addressing these themes, it is beyond doubt that one will be able to develop the much-needed insights about this condition.

Diagnosis and Staging

Of the essence to the management of cancer is the diagnosis and staging of cancer.That is for sure since diagnosis and staging enable medical personnel to establish the existence and the level of cancer progression respectively. The identification of the cancerous cells in their primacy is necessary for the stopping of its metastasis to other body organs. As such, establishing the available diagnostic procedures and staging of cancer is a significant step in developing an appropriate approach to care of cancer.

Diagnosis of Cancer

The diagnosis of cancer is achievable through a complete patient’s history, physical assessment, laboratory investigation, radiology, and biopsy. A comprehensive patient history may be suggestive of cancer in an individual with a family history of this condition(National Cancer Institute, 2016). On the contrary, the physical assessment gives a clue of a cancer-affected organ.

Certain investigations done in the laboratory are also decisive in the diagnosis of cancer given that they reveal the cancer biomarkers within the body.Despite the use of laboratory investigations in diagnosis of cancer, they are indecisive in diagnosing this condition and thus rarely used (National Cancer Institute, 2016).

As for the imaging procedures, they are instrumental in visualizing the cancerous cells’ location in the body. Among the mentioned diagnostic options, imaging procedures are the most decisive in diagnosing cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, (2016), the befitting examples of imaging tests include X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, computer tomography scan, Positron Emission Tomography Ultrasonography, and nuclear scan.

Lastly, a biopsy is also another test commonly used in diagnosis of cancer. Biopsies are of two types, surgical or non-surgical. The surgical biopsies can also be excisional (removal of the entire tumor) or incisional (removal of a small part of the tumor). On the other hand, non-surgical biopsies rely on a needle or an endoscope to make the diagnosis of a cancer (National Cancer Institute, 2016).


The staging of cancer enlightens healthcare professionals about the extent of cancer progression and theappropriate plan of treatment forthe patient. Several types of cancer staging systems are existent and despite their uniqueness, they target to establish location, size, cell type and grade of the tumor, metastasis and lymph node involvement.

Among the various staging systems, the TNM system is the widely used and preferred globally due to its preciseand comprehensive nature. Through ithealthcare professional are able to determine the size of the primary tumor (T), number(N) of involved lymph nodes and extent of cancer metastasis (M). Notwithstanding, the TNM system has the tendency of assigning numbers that provide more details about the three components of this staging system (National Cancer Institute, 2016).

Finally, a more generalized way of staging cancer is the staging system that entails five stages (Stage 0, 1, 2, 3,4). Cancer of stage 0 is one that has abnormal cancerous cells localized in specific tissue. On the contrary, stages 1, 2, 3and 4 means the existence of cancerous cells and its presence in neighboringand distant tissues. A high number symbolizes a wide spread of cancer to the surrounding tissues and a larger cancer tumor. As such, stage 4 is the most severe given the cancer metastasis to distant body organs (National Cancer Institute, 2016).

Complications of Cancer

Cancer results in various complications that are worth noting when seeking to forge an understanding of the approach to care of cancer. A befitting example of a complication associated with cancer is chronic pain. Cancer causes individuals to suffer pain, which is due to the inflammatory response of the body against the abnormal cells. As such, cancer patients are risk factors of pain due to the body’s inflammatory response against the cancerous cells (Sprigings, 2017).

Weight loss is another likely complication that cancer patients face. That is for sure since cancer causes depletion of food stores and thereby depriving the healthy body cells the required nutrients. Besides, chemotherapy treatment of cancer patientsresults in loss of appetite, which consequently reduces the food consumption (Sprigings, 2017). With such changes associated with cancer,it is beyond doubt that the weight loss is inevitable given the insufficiency of the nutrients consumed by patient’s body cells.

Thirdly, recurrence of cancer is a complication that patients with this condition may face in their lifetime. Such a complication is inevitable in some types of cancers, which despite excision of primary tumors they recur (Sprigings, 2017). A complication of this kind hardens the treatment of this cancer.

Lastly, cancer may also result in metastasis to other body parts. Metastasis to distant body parts is the most severe complication of cancer. That is for sure given the increased severity of the cancer-associated symptoms. For example, spread of cancer to the brain may affect the emetic center thereby causing nausea and vomiting (Sprigings, 2017).

Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatment modalities come with a fair share of side effects that are worth mention. One example of a side effect related to cancer treatment is fatigue, which is mainly due to therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation. Such therapies lead to further deprivation of the already energy starved cells (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2016).

Nausea and vomiting is another side effect that cancer patients experience upon receiving the various treatment options. For instance, most chemotherapeutic agents affect the brain and the esophagus, which are necessary centers for initiating vomiting reflexes. As such, nausea and vomiting becomes inevitable post-chemotherapy(American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2016).

American Society of Clinical Oncology, (2016) notes that cancer patients on treatment are candidates of infections given the immunosuppressive nature of chemotherapeutic agents in the body. With immunosuppression, an individual becomes susceptible to infections since his/her weakened immune system cannot combat cancer and other diseases.

Finally, the cancer patients are susceptible to psychological stress caused by taking cancer treatment. That is for sure given treatment options such as chemotherapyis responsible for distressing clinical manifestations like nausea and vomiting(American Cancer Society, 2016). Notwithstanding, the expensive nature of cancer treatment increases the likelihood of stress symptom in cancer patients.

Recommendation for Reducing Physical and Psychological Effects of Cancers

Given the debilitating nature of the physical and psychological effects of cancer, developing strategies for lessening them is necessary. A befitting example of such measures is the utilization of antiemetic agents such as serotonin antagonists (dolasetron) and antacids (ranitidine)for addressing nausea and vomiting. Also, non-pharmacological therapies such as self-hypnosis and music therapy are particularly important in reducing instances of nausea and vomiting by creating mental distractions (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2016).

Besides, fatigue as a physical effect of cancer is reducible taking enough rest and necessary breaks during activities. Additionally, engaging in moderate exercise will enable cancer patients preserve theirlow energy (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2016).

As for infections,one can manage them through various measures. A case in point is treating the cause of the infection. Also, administration of prophylactic antibiotic therapy prior and during chemotherapy is beneficial stopping infections. Moreover, cancer patients can take growth factor medicationssuch as colony stimulating factors to boost the production of neutrophils, which translates to strong immunity against infections (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2016).

Finally, strategies to address the stress caused by cancer are also noteworthy. One of such measures is linking the patients to support groups that will enable them to share their fears and learn how to adapt to the cancer-associated distressing symptoms that cause their stress. Furthermore, encouraging individuals to share their concerns with the rehabilitation team will also result in stress reduction (American Cancer Society, 2016).


Concisely, this paper aimed at establishing the appropriate approach to cancer management. From the discussion, it is beyond doubt that appropriate cancer management entails an understanding of multiple issues. They include the diagnosis and staging of cancer, its complications, cancer treatment’s side effects, and strategies for lessening the physical and psychological effects associated with cancer. Failure of comprehending one of these components of cancer management reduces the chances of institutionalizing an appropriate plan of care for cancer patients. As such, nurses must exhibit comprehension of these aspects in a bid to institute an appropriate plan of care for cancer.


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