Diagnosis and staging of cancer paper

Diagnosis and staging of cancer

Cancer is a disease in which the cells abnormally divide in an uncontrollable way forming a tumour. (Wilkinson, Sherman, Metheny & Matzo 2018).The diagnosis involves clinical judgment on a cancer patient and the responses to the potential and actual health problems.The information on the patient is gathered by interviewing the patient, through physical examination and by looking at past health history. Cancer is suspected in an individual based on the signs and symptoms. Imaging scans such as CT scan, MRI, Ultrasound and PET scan help in identifying lesions associated with cancer(Wilkinson, Sherman, Metheny & Matzo 2018).Lab tests on tissue from the infected area (biopsy) are also done. Staging tests help the doctor to know the extensiveness of the cancer tumour in terms of the size, location, spread/growth to other body organs and in deciding on the most appropriate treatment procedure. The TNM system is a global system commonly used in the staging of cancer.

The Complications of cancer

Cancer is commonly associated with several challenges when caring for a patient. Pain is the most common complication(Lorusso, Bria, Costantini, Di Maio, Rosti & Mancuso, 2017). The pain can be neuropathic pain as aresult of injury to the central nerves or visceral pain due to a body organ being injured. The pain is caused by the pressure exerted as the tumour enlarges and invade the surrounding body cells. This pain can be reduced by analgesics that include nerve blocking agents injected into the nerve or ibuprofen.

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Another complication is the weight loss in cancer patients. The cancer cells being competitive eat up the nutrients that could have been used instead in body growth (Lorusso, Bria, Costantini, Di Maio, Rosti & Mancuso, 2017). To manage the weight loss, increase the food you ingest, avoid food with lots of protein during treatment or use medication such as megestrol acetate to increase appetite and reduce weight loss.Dyspnea is another complication involving difficulty with the breathing. Obstruction of the trachea, hypoxemia, anxiety and reduced erythrocyte count causes dyspnea. This complication can be managed through the use of oxygen machines and living in a good ventilated area.

The side effects of cancer and the methods to lessen these effects

Cancer has a number of side effects that are either physical or psychological. The physical effects include hypothyroidism, diabetes and infertility. Hypothyroidism condition is characterized by the thyroid hormones reduction, and it leads to reduced metabolism process, dry skins and cold intolerance(Lorusso, Bria, Costantini, Di Maio, Rosti & Mancuso, 2017). Management of hypothyroidism can be achieved by using iodine/thyroxin to stimulate secretion of the thyroid hormones.

Physical damage of the teeth can be caused by high radiation around the neck region. High radiation interferes with the enamel, and as a result, gum related problems emerges. Cancer treatment also causes xerostomia (dryness of the mouth). Treatment through radiations kills the cells that secrete the saliva. Agents used in cancer treatments stimulate the blood glucose levels and as a result, causes diabetes.Chemotherapeutic agents, for instance, cyclophosphamide (alkaline), causes infertility because of the damages it causes on the ovaries. Infertility can be managed though through fertility preservation, where ovarian tissue is frozen.

Cancer treatment can also affect patient memory resulting in an inability to reason, plan and even solve problems. Treatment for long time effects includes the use of medication, rehabilitation and therapy and training for the memory problems (Lorusso, Bria, Costantini, Di Maio, Rosti & Mancuso, 2017).Removing lymph nodes in cancer patients through surgery can lead to lymphedema. Lymphedema can be managed by monitoring a healthy weight and avoiding too much time in hot and cold conditions.

Chemotherapy and surgery can also cause damage to the digestive system. Diarrhoea in some cancer patient is another side effect in cancer (Lorusso, Bria, Costantini, Di Maio, Rosti & Mancuso, 2017).To manage diarrhoea, avoid alcohol and medication such as stool softeners and metoclopramide used in preventing nausea from radiation.Mouth sores and headaches are other effects of cancer treatment. Managing mouth sores is done through sucking of ice during chemotherapy treatment and washing your mouth with a solution containing lidocaine. Getting enough sleep and medication prevents headaches.

Factors contributing to the yearly incidence and mortality rates of various cancers in Americans

One of the factors is the Socioeconomic Status (SES) which measures an individual’s income, profession and social status.SES affects a person’s ability to efficient healthcare (Byers, Wender, Jemal, Baskies, Ward & Brawley, 2016). High SES enables one to get a good job, get paid well and even get health insurance that will enable them to go for tests that detect cancer at an early stage. Whereas, those with low SES may not be able to afford the screen tests for cancer.

Access to Health care services also contributes to mortality rates of cancers. Racial and ethnic minorities rarely go for regular screening, as they may not be having a health insurance cover. Individuals with low income may not get good health care for lacking means of transportation or not being able to get an off day at work. The lifestyle of a person is another contributing factor. Smoking cigarettes, lack of physical exercise and unhealthy foods are some of the behaviours that put one at risk of getting cancer. Smoking cigarettes causes throat, lung and mouth cancers. Eating unhealthy food and lack of physical exercise can cause obesity increasing chances of breast cancer, colorectal and kidney cancers. Unprotected Sexual activities can lead to getting HPV which mostly causes cervical cancer.

The poor social and built environment contributes to more cases of cancer. A built environment should have playgrounds for exercising and good transportation. Poor people usually spend more time working rather than going to doctors for screening. Living in places with exposure to carcinogens causes cancer. Exposure to carcinogens can be in thecoal mines, chemical factories and smelters. Low-income earners are more exposed to these substances.

American Cancer Society (ACS) on providing education and support

The American Cancer Society provides information support, emotional support and daily help for the people living with cancer. Live chats and phone calls provided by the National Cancer Information Centre enables the patients to get an education at any time of the day. The cancer specialistsguide the patients on making the treatment decisions and the likely side effects of the cancer treatment procedure (Runowicz, Leach, Henry, Mackey, Cowens‐Alvarado & Hurria 2016). Furthermore, education on prevention and management is provided through professional journals, brochures and books.The patients are also able to find the location for cancer treatment through the services provided by the ACS. The surviving patients provide guidelines to other patients on how to cope up with the disease through the ACS.

What ACS services would you recommend and why?

Tender Loving Care is the service I would recommend. TLC offers affordable products and advice forbreast cancer womenor any other cancer that causes loss in the hair (Runowicz, Leach, Henry, Mackey, Cowens‐Alvarado & Hurria 2016). These products are breast forms, mastectomy bras, wigs and turbans. The TLC helps boost the confidence of cancer patients through these products.

Nursing process utilization to providing safe and effective care for cancer patients across the life span

The nursing process is a systematic scientific method which the nurses use to plan and provide quality care to a patient. Nursing process for cancer patients is a holistic process in that the stages are interconnected to each other and include a continuous attendance to the patient. The information of the patient health history is taken by physically examining and interviewing the patient and looking at the patient family health. The physical examination can be done through weight measuring, cough and through other vital signs.

In the nursing process, care for the cancer patient should include the diagnosis and staging process, treatment, reoccurrence stage, the process of survival, palliative care and helping with a peaceful death (Wilkinson, Sherman, Metheny & Matzo 2018). The cancer patient needs include the psychological, physical, social, information needs and emotional concerns. Identifyingthese needs during the diagnosis and treatment phases requires a holistic nursing approach. The holistic approach focuses on providing the patient with quality life during nursing. Taking care of the patient’s needs is a dynamic process that requires an adaptation in case of the changes in the needs during the treatment phase.

The caring process should satisfy the needs of the cancer patient. Treatment of cancer can be done through various methods depending on the stage and type of cancer. Treatment can include radiation, surgery, bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. Treatment usually causes side effects that require management. Caring on a physical level can be done through assessing the symptoms, coming up with an appropriate plan of caring and physical interventions to be used in nursing care.

Psychosocial care should be provided throughout the cancer stages. The needs vary depending on the cancer stage. During the treatment, body image can be altered and thus, the psychology of the patient can be affected. Body alteration can include skin colour change, loss of hair and mastectomy.(Wilkinson, Sherman, Metheny & Matzo 2018).The nurse can provide psychosocial support through good communication with the patient/family. Psychological care also reduces stressinitially caused by physical symptoms. Good communication skills make the patient comfortable, and as a resulting trust, honesty and respect are developed.

Another holistic patient care is caring for an individual’s spiritual status. Spirituality helps in the management of cancer as it gives hope to the patient improving his/her life. Nursing interventions can also be done through assessing the patient’s mental condition, optimism and referral to a specialist.In conclusion, holistic nursing care aims at providing the patient with a better quality of life during all the cancer stages.

Undergraduate education in liberal arts and science studies and how it contributes to the foundation of nursing knowledge and prepares nurses to work with patients

Nursing is an art as well as a science(Slattery, Logan, Mudge, Secore, Von Reyn & Maue, 2016). Nurses can be asked to analyze data by writing it scientifically, monitor lab values or to monitor physical manifestations with use of medications. Liberal arts provide nurses with knowledge and skills that enable them to easily communicate and to solve problems through critical thinking. Liberal arts helps in anticipating patient’s feeling, giving hope and meeting his/her cultural needs and spiritual needs (Slattery, Logan, Mudge, Secore, Von Reyn & Maue, 2016).

Furthermore, it helps the nurses to know their weaknesses, strengths, andhow their actions can have impacts on patient care. Writing prescriptions and administering medications require knowledge of mathematics. Mathematics can also be used to draw graphs of successive treatments/epidemics. Moreover, medical devices such as MRI scans use the physics principles of sound and light waves.


Byers, T., Wender, R. C., Jemal, A., Baskies, A. M., Ward, E. E., & Brawley, O. W. (2016). The American Cancer Society challenge goal to reduce US cancer mortality by 50% between 1990 and 2015: results and reflections. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians66(5), 359-369.

Lorusso, D., Bria, E., Costantini, A., Di Maio, M., Rosti, G., & Mancuso, A. (2017). Patients’ perception of chemotherapy side effects: Expectations, doctor-patient communication and impact on the quality of life–An Italian survey. European journal of cancer care26(2), e12618.

Runowicz, C. D., Leach, C. R., Henry, N. L., Henry, K. S., Mackey, H. T., Cowens‐Alvarado, R. L., … & Hurria, A. (2016). American cancer society/American society of clinical oncology breast cancer survivorship care guideline. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians66(1), 43-73

Slattery, M. J., Logan, B. L., Mudge, B., Secore, K., Von Reyn, L. J., & Maue, R. A. (2016). An undergraduate research fellowship program to prepare nursing students for future workforce roles. Journal of Professional Nursing32(6), 412-420.

Wilkinson, A. M., Sherman, D. W., Metheny, T., & Matzo, M. (2018). Palliative Care Nursing CHAPTER. Palliative Care Nursing: Quality Care to the End of Life, 1

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