Approach to Care of Cancer

Approach to Care of Cancer

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

  1. Describe the diagnosis and staging of cancer.
  2. Describe at least three complications of cancer, the side effects of treatment, and methods to
    lessen physical and psychological effects.
  3. 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.

Integrated approach to care

Cancer could be complex and difficult, and it typically necessitates the involvement of
several specialists in an integrated or integrative approach to care. If one chooses a care center
that provides multidisciplinary care, then the individual will be able to receive a uniquely
effective and convenient approach to cancer treatment. When all the cancer specialists meet
within a single place, more options for cancer treatment are likely to be discussed (American
Cancer Society, 2014). Moreover, differences of opinion could be resolved at that moment, and
the patient gets a treatment program which is more comprehensive that focuses on a physical


treatment plan, as well as social and emotional needs of the patient. With an integrated approach,
the patient will be an active member of the team and gets to listen to the discussions, ask any
questions, and voice his or her concerns. The team will guide the patient in understanding his/her
options, although the patient remains the final and very well-informed decision-maker (American
Cancer Society, 2014).

Diagnosis and staging of cancer

Diagnosis: a medical history particularly the history of symptoms, and physical
examination are the initial steps in cancer diagnosis. Usually, the doctor would order several
tests, many of which would be determined by the kind of cancer, as well as where the cancer is
thought to be situated in, or on the body of the patient. Additionally, physicians would order
electrolyte levels, a complete blood count, in addition to other blood studies which might provide
more information, for instance a prostate specific antigen test might guide the physician to carry
out more tests like prostate biopsy (American Cancer Society, 2014). Imaging studies are usually
utilized in helping the doctor detect any abnormalities within the body that might actually be
cancer. Ultrasound, MRI and CT scans, and X-rays are the common tools employed in
examining the patient’s body. Other tests like endoscopy could allow visualizations of tissues
within the intestinal tract, bronchi or throat that might be cancerous. Radionuclide scanning is
commonly utilized in areas which cannot be visualized properly, for instance some lymph nodes
or inside bones. The test will involve IV injection or ingestion of a weakly radioactive substance
which could be concentrated and detected in the tissue which is abnormal (American Cancer
Society, 2014).


Staging of cancer is understood as the process used by the physician to find out how
much cancer there is within the body of a person, and where it is situated. It is, in essence, how
the physician learns the stage of an individual’s cancer. Staging information is used by
physicians in planning treatment and to help in predicting an individual’s prognosis or outlook
(American Cancer Society, 2014). It is of note that cancers that have similar stage typically have
the same outlooks and are usually treated the same way. The stage of cancer is also a way that
physicians use in describing the degree of the cancer whenever they converse with one another
regarding a person’s cancer.
Staging is of major importance given that it tells the specialist the best possible
treatments that the cancer patient actually needs. For instance, the treatment for early stage
cancer of the breast might be radiation and surgery, whilst a more advanced cancer of the breast
might also necessitate treatment with chemotherapy (American Cancer Society, 2014).
Moreover, specialists also utilize the stage to help in predicting the course that a given cancer is
likely to take. When staging cancer, the specialist looks for the primary cancer, which is the
original tumor, in addition to other tumors. The doctor looks at the number, size, as well as
locations of any tumors to find out if the cancer has actually extended far away. The physician
also looks at the nearby lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread into them (American Cancer
Society, 2014).

Complications of cancer

Depending on the health of the individual as well as the stage of the tumor, complications
of cancer could be life-changing, inconvenient, painful and even deadly. Amongst the most
common complications of cancer include fatigue, metastasis, sleep disorders, pain and


depression. (i) Emotional and mental complications of cancer: generally, patients with cancer
have the risk of developing mood disorders such as major depression and anxiety. A lot of cancer
patients experience grief, sadness, as well as anxiety in response to the diagnosis and treatment
of the disease. Whenever these feelings interfere with the capacity to lead a productive life or to
undergo treatment, nevertheless, the cancer patient might have developed a mood disorder which
calls for professional treatment (American Cancer Society, 2014).
(ii) Physical complications of cancer: the main physical complication is pain. As a tumor
is growing, it could extend into the nearby tissues or exert pressure on a surrounding nerve,
which makes the patient to feel pain. The pain falls into 3 key types: neuropathic pain – this is
pain as a result of injury to the central nervous system; somatic pain – pain that affects the
particular area of the skin, bone or muscle; and visceral pain – pain as a result of damaged organ
tissue (American Cancer Society, 2014). The other physical complications associated with
cancer are as follows: vomiting and nausea; hypercalcemia, which is high amount of calcium
within the blood; malignant pleural effusion, which is the accumulation within the lung cavity
that makes breathing to be difficult. Lymphedema, which is the swelling as a result of damage to
lymph nodes; sexual issues for instance vaginal dryness and erectile dysfunction; as well as
pruritus, which is a sensation of itchiness.

Side effects of treatment

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy cause several side effects, considering that
chemotherapy medications are very strong. The main side effects include Pain: this could be as a
result of certain treatments for instance surgery. Vomiting and nausea: these are amongst the
most dreaded side effects of cancer treatments. Fatigue: this is a distressing and common side


effect of cancer and its treatment (American Cancer Society, 2014). Other treatment side effects
include anemia and bleeding problems, confusion and memory problems, diarrhea and
constipation, lymphedema, skin changes, hot flashes and night sweats, tiredness as well as hair
thinning and hair loss. Other side effects include anxiety, reactivity to unpleasant stimuli,
tension, depression, confusion, and hostility.

Methods to lessen physical and psychological effects

Patients with cancer who experience overwhelming feelings of despair, worthlessness,
anxiety, hopelessness or sadness need to talk with a physician regarding the symptoms as well as
possible treatment of these complications. In essence, psychological effects could be lessened
through relaxation therapy, which eases symptoms of anxiety. Relaxation techniques which are
known to ease the psychological side effects include mental imagery, hypnosis, as well as
progressive muscle relaxation. They help in reducing tension, anxiety and depression (American
Cancer Society, 2014). Fatigue can be lessened by establishing a sleep pattern, developing a
routine for going to sleep, trying to those avoid activities which makes him/her most fatigued,
and beginning an endurable everyday exercise regimen to decrease fatigue and improve sleep. To
reduce physical effects, there are medications that the patient can take. There are drugs to reduce
or totally eliminate the pain, which can also be lessened through massage that soothes the body.



American Cancer Society. (2014). About Cancer.

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