Care of cancer
Care of cancer
Cancer is a disease where body cells divide and spread abnormally destroying body tissues. It is one of the main causes of death today. It can affect anyone, the young, and the old (Roby, 2015). There are different types of cancers including prostate cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer. Many cancers can be treated and cured while others can only be controlled with medicines available to ease the pain that comes with the cancer treatment. Management of cancer depends on when it is detected, and the method of treatment used. There is no one reliable method of treatment for all types of cancer (Wyatt & Hulbert, 2015). The methods available include surgery that involves removal of the tissue affected by the cancer, chemotherapy that involves using drugs that kill the cancerous cells or slow their growth, radiotherapy that is destroying the cancerous cells by use of radiation, and finally hormone therapy that involves controlling cancers that are sensitive to hormones. These methods of cancer treatment can be used individually or in combination.
Fear and worry engulfs patients who have been diagnosed with cancer affecting more than just their physical bodies, it can cause stress to loved ones that is friends and family. There is much more needed to cancer treatment than the medical treatment. Support and care for cancer patients is important which includes social support, spiritual support, financial support, and psychological support during the cancer treatment period (Corter et al, 2013). A team approach to cancer care has been adopted by many countries. A cancer team care that includes a group of health professionals with appropriate skills may develop the best care to cancer patient needs. The team will discuss all the information that is important in developing the best care and treatment plan for the patient. This approach gives a cancer patient a team of health professionals who plan the best and right treatment for the type of cancer the patient has. The team may also review other factors that may affect the cancer treatment to avoid unexpected health problems that may arise during the treatment period. There are three main processes for cancer care, which are diagnosis and treatment of cancer, management of symptoms and side effects and three is the provision of support during the treatment period (Midgley, 2013).
Diagnosis and staging of cancer
It is very important as a health care professional to know and understand the diagnosis of cancer and the type, the current stage, the complications involved and the side effects of treatment and the methods of reducing those side effects. The treatment of cancer depends on the type of cancer and the stage of the cancer. Any type of cancer is staged between zero and five to determine how large the tumor is (Roby, 2015). Cancer cells move through the blood or lymph nodes to move to other organs of the body where they form new tumors. The staging of cancer is done based on the original tumor, the extent it has spread to the lymph nodes and the presence of metastasis. Metastasis is the final process in the staging of cancer by studying how far the cancerous cells have spread to other body parts from the original tumor. By knowing what stage the cancer is in, a health care professional is able to know what best treatment procedures to undertake (Corter et al, 2013). Patients and relatives should be well informed about the cancer diagnosis, stage and what treatment procedures are the best and available.
The first stage of cancer is stage zero or situ by where a normal body cell or body cells turn cancerous forming a tumor in that tissue (Albert, 2016). In this stage, treatment may start or more observation may be needed. Stage one, two and three imply that the disease is actually present in the body. Stage three indicates that the tumor is larger compared to stage one or two or the lymphatic system is adversely affected. The higher the stage, the bigger the tumor and the more adversely the lymphatic system is affected (Roby, 2015). In stage one the tumor is starting to grow and it is small and has not yet spread to surrounding lymph nodes. In stage two, it becomes a larger tumor but has not affected surrounding tissues. In stage three, it has grown in size and has spread to the lymph nodes nearby. In this stage, surgery can be done to remove the affected tumor and lymph nodes and other drugs may be used. Chemotherapy and radiation may also be used at this stage. Stage four is the final stage and in this stage, the cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body affecting other organs. In this stage, treatment can involve surgery to remove the tumor or radiation (Midgley, 2013).
Complications of cancer
Cancer that returns is one complication associated with cancer. Patients who have been cured from cancer are at a risk of the cancer recurring in their bodies again (Phelps & Hassed, 2012). Health care providers should give cancer survivors information on how to prevent future recurrence of the cancer. Future scans and reviews may be done to check if cancerous cells may be growing again. Cancer can also complicate by spreading to other body organs infecting them. If detected early procedures should start to stop the spread. Pain which is a cancer complication comes from the treatment methods of cancer. Medications or drugs to ease the pain should be administered. Weight loss is another complication of cancer. Cancer cells deprive normal cells of nutrients regardless how much one eats or much supplements one gets (Wyatt & Hulbert, 2015). It is difficult to gain weight at this time and this may affect the normal functioning of the body.
The side effects of treatment
There are undesirable side effects in the treatment of cancer that vary depending on the organ affected. Radiation in prostate cancer patients leads to diarrhea, pain and can affect their sexual well-being. When radiation is done on the neck, patient suffer from dryness of the mouth ,pain in the mouth and in the neck and also pain, also the patient will have a difficult time taking his or her food (Phelps and Hassed, 2012). Chemotherapy, which is another cancer treatment method, causes nausea and vomiting. Cancer treatment causes psychological side effects relating to work and family. A patient who has been diagnosed with cancer will suffer stress and depression due to the fear associated with the disease, the harsh and the effects of treatments involved and the lifestyle changes one has to make (Meijer,et al, 2013).
Methods to lessen physical and psychological effects include support teams that offer information and encouragement to cancer patients. Support groups with experts in cancer care and management can be able to absorb new patients and offer support care to them. These groups also offer professional counseling to patients and their loved ones (Albert et al, 2016). Changing of physical body image is a physical effect caused by the treatment of cancer mostly by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. These changes can make a cancer patient become less confident and lower their self-esteem. A number of ways are available to improve self-esteem, which include involving oneself in programs that help patients improve their physical appearance. A patient can also take care for his or her body. Some patients may have sleeping disorders and sleep is very important for a cancer patient. Sleep can be affected by fear, worry, anxiety, and pain associated with the treatment methods involved (Meijer et al, 2013). Sleep can be improved by physical exercise and using relaxation techniques available on the internet. Another method to lessen physical and psychological effects is making healthy life choices where a patient must make healthy choices regarding nutrition, physical activities and responsible behaviors which can mean avoiding or quitting bad lifestyles like smoking and drinking for example if one has been diagnosed with liver or lung cancer.
Alberts, D. S., Lluria-Prevatt, M., Kha, S., & Weihs, K. (2016). Supportive cancer care, Cham:Springer.
Corter,A. L., Findlay.M.,Broom, R.,Porter,D., & Petrie,K.J. (2013). Living with side effects from cancer treatment. Scand J Caring Sci, 27(3), 715–723.
Meijer, A., Roseman, M., Delisle, V. C., Milette, K., Levis, B., Syamchandra, A., Thombs, B. D. (2013). Effects of Screening for Psychological Distress on Patient Outcomes in Cancer: a Systematic Review. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 75(1), 10.1016.
Midgley, R. S. (2013). Drugs in cancer care, Oxford University Press.
Phelps, K., & Hassed, C. (2012). Cancer: General Practice: The Integrative Approach Series. London: Elsevier Health Sciences APAC.
Roby, M. (2015). Lifelines to cancer survival: A new approach to personalized care. Royal Oak, MI : Integrative Medicine Publishing.
Wyatt, D., & Hulbert-Williams, N. (2015). Cancer and Cancer Care. London, SAGE Publications Ltd.