Patients and Cancer

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This paper explores different peer-reviewed articles that attempts to shed some light on the phenomenon of the lived experience of patients with cancer; supporting the fact that individuality is a huge factor in the care of cancer patients. Manu types of cancers exist and patients should be treated as individuals versus as a disease or diagnosis. As oncology nurses we accumulate knowledge on a daily basis that may be revised in practice. Therefore, it becomes our innate duty to visit the literature and gain the understanding and evidence that will help us in improving our practice of nursing. The articles, however, vary in the type of cancer with different treatment modalities and the collection methods but have the commonality of all participants being diagnosed with Cancer. The findings showed that patients have many unmet psychosocial and emotional needs among others but exercise hope when family support is present. These shortcomings or gaps in knowledge can alter how care is received and administered. We as nurses, have a lot of work to do in assisting patients feel more individualized with the diagnosis of Cancer. Each day in practice we meet new patients and see old ones and we may see them smile or get sad or display other emotions but as nurses do not take enough time to find out what our patients face and how they handle their diagnoses of cancer. As nurses we get so wrapped up in our daily tasks. Cancer is an experience that can threaten not only the end of one’s life, but also touch all aspects of the person’s existence, making it significant to them and if it is significant to them then it should also be the same to us. Cancer also imposes so many burdens on patients, families and the society at large. So large that it is labeled the silent killer and will overtake disease as top killer by the end of 2010 (foxnews.com). I chose this topic because I realize the gap in knowledge and communication between what happens to patients between diagnoses, treatment and discharge, up to the time they return for follow -up cycles to the time they may hear that the cancer has either metastasis or have been cured (in remission). Just knowing that your life will change is significant enough. We, as nurses are first line in the patient care area. The Doctor walks in and tells the patient that they have cancer and then walk out and the nurse is faced with the aftermath, the questions and the emotions that follow. The nurse is also the one that administers the chemotherapy and various radiation treatments and again is faced with questions and emotions. At discharge the nurse again becomes the one that is faced with questions and emotions. It may not be possible to answer all the questions and for the ones that we are not sure of, we can refer or ask the doctor to explain but having the knowledge of what it may be like for these cancer patients can help with how we approach these questions and the treatment options. Having this knowledge can help in terms of support, teaching, prevention and alleviation of suffering, enabling us to give more culturally congruent care. Literature Review

In Arber et al.’s (2008) article on the lived experience of patients with pleural mesothelioma it was found that these patients had many unmet psychosocial and emotional needs and that there was a lack of information provided to patients . A feeling of isolation was also reported. All patients and care givers experienced frustration due to the physical experience (Arber et al., 2008). It was showed that these patients wanted to tell their stories and wanted people to listen. The methodology was phenomenology which was appropriate for the study with unstructured interview questions allowing for participants to speak their mind and their experiences. As nurses sometimes we are unsure of what to say for fear of saying the wrong thing. There was also evidence of loss of intimacy with partners. Macmillan Cancer support (2006) states that four out...
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