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Cancer and Its Approach to Care - Paper Example

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Wesleyan University
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Abnormal cell growth by a group of diseases is considered to be cancer which can spread to other body parts of an individual. Some of the cancer signs and symptoms include abnormal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, prolonged cough and a continuous change in the location of a bowel. The risk of cancer increases with age and is mostly witnessed in countries that are developed. Around 14.1 million cases are seen every year about cancer. There are approximately forty different types of cancer. According to statics gathered by leading health care centers in the U.S.A cancer is the second cause of death in the U.S.A. The most common types of cancer in females include colorectal cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer. The most common type of cancer in males include stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer (Valier, 2016, p. 23). This essay mainly discusses the approach to care of cancer, diagnosis and staging of cancer. The essay further describes complications that are caused by cancer, the side effects of the treatment and the various methods that can be used to reduce the psychological and physical effects.

Standard treatment is considered to the best form of treatment while dealing with the various types of cancer which occur in different phases. In most cases a propelled disease cannot be cured by standard treatment. Despite that patients and specialists and families tend to prefer undergoing through chemotherapy, radiation treatment, surgery or any other form of treatment that is disease-directed with the hope that it will help cure or moderate the development of the disease.

Question 1

The Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer

If a patient has a symptom that suggests the possibility of having cancer or their screening tests indicate that the patient could be having cancer the doctor may ask the patient about their personal and also their family medical history as well as do a physical exam. The doctor may also do scans and lab tests. Low or high level of certain substances in the body could be a sign that the patient has cancer. Urine, blood and other fluids in the body help measure such substances (National Cancer Institute (U.S.), 2010, p. 15).

A biopsy is also another way that doctors use to diagnose cancer. Biopsy refers to a procedure whereby the physicians removes a body tissue which is then looked at by a pathologist using a microscope to determine if there are cancer cells. The sample tissue can be removed using different ways which include the use of an endoscope, needle or surgery.

Another way of diagnosing cancer is through use of different imaging procedures. The imaging procedures usually create pictures of areas in the body that assist the doctor to know if there is a tumor. The imaging procedures can be in different ways which include a nuclear scan, CT scan, MRI, Ultrasound, PET scan, and X-rays.

Cancer staging refers to the extent to which cancer has grown and if it has spread to other parts of the body. It is important for the doctor to know the stage of cancer to be in a position of planning the best treatment that should be administered, understand the seriousness of the patient's cancer and the chances of survival and also to identify clinical trials that may be treatment options for the patient. The doctor needs to carry out lab tests, x-rays and other procedures and tests as well to determine the stage of cancer.

There are several systems that are used to determine the stage of the cancer. For example the TNM staging system is used for different types of cancer. The doctors mostly use this type of staging system while writing the pathology report unless the patient has cancer which requires a different staging system to be used. For example the spinal cord tumors, brain and blood cancers use different staging systems. In the TNM system, the T is used to refer to the size and extent of the primary tumor which is usually referred to as the primary tumor. The N is used to refer to the total number of lymph nodes that have cancer, and The M is used to mean that cancer has spread to other body parts from the primary tumor.

Other systems that are used tend to be specific to a given type of cancer. Most of the staging systems that are used include information about the nature of the cell, the location of the tumor in the body, the size of the tumor, whether cancer has spread to different body parts and nearby lymph nodes and the tumor grade. Other staging systems that doctors may use to classify other types of cancer include the central nervous system tumors, childhood cancers and cancers of the blood.

The cancer is also grouped into five main stages. In stage 0 of cancer, there are abnormal cells which are present but have not yet spread to the tissues that are nearby. It is not, however, cancer but can become cancer. In stage 1 there is the presence of a small tumor which has not spread deeply to nearby tissues and has also not spread to the lymph nodes. In stage 2 and 3 the cancer is present and indicates the presence of tumors that are larger and the more it has spread to tissues that are nearby. In stage 4 which is the final stage cancer usually have spread to different body parts.

Question 2

Complications which are as a result of cancer and its treatment are common and as the disease progresses the complications become severe. Some of the complications of cancer include endocrine abnormalities, gastrointestinal problems, and hematologic disorders. The treatment options for most patients who have been diagnosed with cancer include radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy. Cancer treatment has several side effects on the patient such as nausea, fatigue, low sex drive, stress, hearing loss, and hair loss (Colbert, Winters-Stone, Schmitz, Matthews, & American College of Sports Medicine, 2008, p. 25).


One of the side effects of cancer treatment is that it causes nausea. Chemotherapy is the treatment that mostly causes nausea and vomiting. According to various studies a positive attitude by the patient before undertaking the treatment could help reduce this problem. To further prevent nausea patients should also avoid fried, salty, spicy o0r greasy food.


The patient feels fatigued after Chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This is a feeling of being exhausted and not having enough energy to do the daily activities. Fatigue cannot be compared with ordinary tiredness since it does not go away with sleep or rest. There are different ways which patients can use to manage the problem of fatigue. They can try to spend time outside in the fresh air every day, doing some exercise every day, plan to do things at the time of the day when they feel lees tired and pace themselves by doing one thing a day instead of overdoing things.

Hearing Problem

Patients undergoing the cancer treatment can also have hearing problem or loss. The hearing loss can be caused by platinum-based chemotherapy drugs which include cisplatin and carboplatin as well as radiation therapy. These drugs usually damage the inner ear hair cells which make the ear to respond to sound waves slowly. The cancer treatment also results in hair loss. The chemotherapy drugs aim to kill dividing cells in the body, and hence they can easily destroy the hair roots. To lessen the hearing problem the patient can undertake cochlear implants.

Decreased Sex Drive

The treatment can also result in decreased sex drive of the patient. Sexuality is about how an individual feels like a man or woman. It is the characteristics and the feelings that make up the sexual identity of an individual. The cancer treatments may affect the ability of an individual becoming aroused, or the patient may be too worried about cancer to even think about sex. A patient can lessen this effect by reading more about managing interest in sex in intimacy, sexuality, and cancer. The patient can also talk to their treatment provider about any concern they may be having about low sex drive.


Patients may suffer from psychological problems. It could be emotional or developmental problems. The persistence of psychological stress varies from one patient to neither. It could be determined by the time since the patient was diagnosed with cancer, amount of pain, the degree of physical and role impairment and the type of cancer the patient is suffering from. To help lessen this problem the patient can attend counseling classes where he/she will be able to share the feelings and be guided accordingly. The patient is also required to receive enough support from the family members who will give him/her hope of living.


Colbert, L., Winters-Stone, K., Schmitz, K. H., Matthews, C. E., & American College of Sports Medicine. (2008). ACSM select symposium--long-term side effects of cancer treatment: Can exercise make a difference? Monterey, CA: Healthy Learning.

National Cancer Institute (U.S.). (2010). Cancer Staging. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute.

Valier, H. K. (2016). A history of prostate cancer: Cancer, men, and medicine.

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