The 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:

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.

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The Approach to Care of Cancer

Cancer is medically referred to as the malignant neoplasia. Cancer is characterized with cell growth in unregulated patterns. Medics indicate that cancerous cells grow and divide extensively resulting to malignant tumors, which at times invade the neighboring body parts. There are cases when cancer has spread to body parts that are distant through the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Health care professionals have proved that not all tumors in the human body are cancerous. An example is the benign tumors that do not spread and at the same time do not invade the body parts that are neighboring. Cancer is complex with over two hundred types documented by health care professionals. People living in the modern world are more affected by cancer than in the earlier decades.

Diagnoses of Cancer

The causes of cancer are complex; they are also remotely comprehended by the health care professionals. There are different risk factors to cancers; common risk factors are related to environmental pollutants, exposure to radiation, tobacco use, dietary factors, contemporary lifestyles, certain infections, physical inactivity and obesity among others (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010). Risk factors causing cancer are known with altering the genes in causing cancerous mutations in the human body.

Surveys have shown that approximately five to ten percent of the cancers are directly connected to genetic factors that are inherited (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010). Cancer may be prevented by avoiding the risk factors. Cancer can be avoided by taking physical exercises, taking huge amounts of fruits, avoiding smoking, taking whole grains, taking limited meat, minimizing refined carbohydrates, avoiding obesity, reducing exposure to sunlight and in taking vaccinations to some of the infectious diseases associated with cancer.

There are various ways used in diagnosing and staging of cancer. Common methods are through observing certain symptoms and signs, medical imaging and screening tests. Detection of possible cancer leads to sampling of the tissue through microscopic examination (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010). Treatment of cancer is carried out through radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, monoclonal antibody therapy and immunotherapy. Survival of patients from cancer varies with location and types of the cancer, it also varies with the extent of the cancer within the human body, in which commencement of the treatments were initiated.

Cancer in the modern populations is affecting individuals of any age, with some cancers being common among the children; age is a factor that increases the cases of cancer. Statistics compiled on 2007 indicated that the global deaths related to cancer were at thirteen percent translating to more than seven million peoples across the globe; the figures are increasing with the changing lifestyles (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010).

Diagnosis of cancer is complex considering that there is no single method of approving cancer that offers accurate results. The patients have to undergo different tests in making sure that they are suffering from cancer. Complete evaluation of cancer in a patient calls for a thorough study on the physical and history of the patient; this is considered as part of the diagnostic testing. In a number of cases, cancer is related to other diseases.

Effective diagnostic testing is required in eliminating and confirming presence of cancer (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010), the diagnoses of cancer is also influential in monitoring the processes of the disease and in evaluating and planning the effectiveness of the treatment of the disease. If the conditions of the patient changes, repeat of the tests is necessarily in confirming the results. Common diagnostic procedures used in the management of cancer include imaging, tumor biopsy, laboratory tests, endoscopic examination, genetic testing and surgery.

Laboratory tests involve clinical chemistry in the management of cancer. The chemical processes are applied in measuring the levels of chemical components in the tissues and body fluids. Clinical chemistry use specimens related to urine and blood in getting the results. There are several tests used in measuring and detecting the chemical composition of urine or blood. Common components put into consideration identifies with electrolytes, blood glucose, enzymes, lipids, proteins, metabolic substances and hormones. Common laboratory tests are related to blood tests, urinalysis, tumor markers, PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) and PAP (Prostrate Acid Phosphate). Additional laboratory tests are CA 125, CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen) and AFP (Alpha-FetoProtein). Other laboratory tests are related to HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), CA 15-3, CA 27-29, LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase) and NSE (Neuron-Specific Enolase) (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010).

Staging of Cancer

Staging of cancer is characterized with determining the spread of cancer in the human body. Contemporary medical practice assign the development and extent of cancer in five categories, this is from 0, I, II, III and IV. I identify isolated case of cancer while IV identifies cases of cancer that have extensively spread in the human body. Cancer staging takes into account on the extent and size of the tumor, invasion to the neighboring parts, extent of damage to the hollow organs such as urinary bladder and intestines, spread to the distant organs and the extent of metastasized regional lymph nodes (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010).

In Tumor, Node and Metastasis (TNM), the staging system is characterized with pathologic stage and clinical stage. The pathologic and clinical stages vary with the criteria applied. Most medical practitioners prefer pathologic staging process since it is accurate in offering better results considering that it offers direct analysis of the tumors. Clinical staging is characterized with indirect observations of the tumor. Most medical practitioners prefer using both methods in making informed decisions (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010). Staging system is engaged in various forms of cancer with the exception of hematological malignancies and brain tumors.

Inadequate staging results to improper treatment models, systems of staging consider blood and solid. Stage 0 is characterized with the early form of cancer, stage I is characterized with localized cancer, stage II is characterized with early locally advanced cancer, stage III is characterized with late locally advanced cancer and stage four is characterized with metastasized cancer.

Complications and Treatments of Cancer

Side Effects of Cancer Treatments

Managing Physical and Physiological Effects

Treatments used in the management of cancer have side effects that vary with patients. Treatments are directed at killing the cancerous cells in the human body, and at times results in harming healthy cells. Side effects of cancer disease vary with the treatment, time-taken in treating cancer and on the doses of treatment. Health care professionals maximize effects of anticancer therapy and minimize the side effects (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010). Common side effects are physical changes, pain, vomiting/nausea, emotional issues and fatigue.

Physical changes are part of the side effects; some changes are short term while others are long term. Patients react to physical changes differently depending on the disease, personalities and response to treatment (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010). Common physical changes are related to hair loss, skin problems, difficulty in eating and on changed sense of well-being and identity such as wounds, scars, ostomies, amputations, nerve damage and infertility among others. Side effects of physical changes are managed through the lymphedema clinics, integrative medicine, counseling and rehabilitation.

Pain is a side effect in the treatment of cancer; most patients are scared of the pain. Health care professionals have ways of managing and relieving pain. Pain management is part of cancer care. Pain management in patients suffering from cancer enables the patients improve relationships with family members, improve appetite, improve sleep and enable the patient resume work (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010). Management of pain is addressed by patients consulting pain clinics. Patients must coordinate with the physicians in offering the best pain management medical interventions.

Vomiting and nausea are side effects of cancer treatments. Vomiting and nausea can cause dehydration and discomfort. Medics have diverse ways of controlling Vomiting and nausea. Common medicines used in managing vomiting and nausea are connected to Anti-emetics, Biofeedback, Self-hypnosis, Desensitization, Guided imagery and Progressive muscle relaxation among others (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010). Other methods of managing vomiting and nausea are associated with Clinical Massage, Medical Acupuncture and Energy Work.

Recommendations in Addressing

Physiological and Psychological Side Effects of Care

Psychological effects of cancer treatment are related to feelings experienced by people suffering from cancer, this common during and after treatment of cancer. Common emotional effects are associated with distress, depression, fear, anxiety and attitudes among others. There are different programs and services offered by organizations dealing with cancer that are influential in managing cancer and its effects (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010).

Some programs and services are offered online or by the patient contacting the organizations, an example is American Cancer Society (ACS) among others. Physical effects of cancer are many and vary with the general health of the patient, age and the medication offered. Friends and relatives to the patient suffering from cancer must be supportive in effective management of disease (Tobias & Hochhauser, 2010).

Cancer is treatable if identified at the early stages; the treatment of cancer depends on the spread of the disease, location and the health of the individual among other factors. There are various side effects of cancer during the treatment and after the treatment. Cancer management highly depends on the coordination of medics, patients, friends and family members. It is hoped that, in the future, treatment of cancer will be available irrespective of the staging process of the disease.


Tobias, J. & Hochhauser, D. (2010). Cancer and Its Management. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell.