September 30, 2012
The Approach to Care of Cancer
Cancer refers to a group of diseases that involve uncontrolled cell growth (Corner & Bailey, 2008). The unregulated cell division and growth leads to the formation of malignant tumors that invade bordering body parts. Cancer may also spread to distant areas of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Determining the causes of cancer is a complex process, however studies have shown that obesity, tobacco use, environmental pollutants, and microwave radiations, increase the risk of the health problems (Corner & Bailey, 2008). Early detection of cancer is extremely important because it will allow for early treatment and stop progression of the disease process. Research has shown that the risk of acquiring cancer is especially high among the elderly population (Lee & Wood, 2010). When we advance in age our fears may increase due to competing causes of death, limited life expectancy, and higher risk of toxicities such as cancer. Understanding the prognosis and the nature of the progression of cancer is important when contemplating a variety of treatment options accessible for the patient. This paper will consider the diagnosis and staging of cancer, the complications of a disease, side effects of treatment, and methods to lessen psychological and physical effects of cancer treatments. Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer
Diagnosis of cancer refers to the processes by which a physician determines the presence of cancer through screening or observing symptoms (Lee & Wood, 2010). Screening and monitoring of symptoms does not require physicians to examine tissue samples, however medical tests are necessary when investigating and diagnosing suspected cancer in the patient. The medical tests commonly include ultrasound, endoscopy, blood draws such as cancer marker tests, biopsies of area in question, Computed Tomography (CT) scans, X-rays, pap- smears, mammograms, (there are two new forms of mammography that are making news: Computed Tomography Laser Mammography and Full Field Digital Mammography). (Lee & Wood, 2010). Effective diagnosis will confirm the presence of cancer, determine the progress of cancer, and look for the suitable approach of its treatment. Staging of cancer refers to the determination of the level at which cancer has progressed (Lee & Wood, 2010). The TNM system is based on the extent of the tumor (T), the extent of spread to the lymph nodes (N), and the presence of distant metastasis (M). A number is added to each letter to indicate the size or extent of the primary tumor and the extent of cancer spread. (National Cancer Institute At the National Institute of Health). |Stage 0 |Carcinoma in situ. | |Stage I, Stage II, and Stage|Higher numbers indicate more extensive disease: Larger tumor size and/or spread of the cancer beyond the | |III |organ in which it first developed to nearby lymph nodes and/or organs adjacent to the location of the | | |primary tumor. | |Stage IV |The cancer has spread to another organ(s). |
This is a significant determinant of cancer treatment and medical prognosis. Physicians use a variety of techniques, including surgery, biopsy, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, and CT scans, in order to determine the progress of cancer for its effective treatment (Lee & Wood, 2010). Therefore, both invasive and non-invasive techniques allow for successful cancer staging. Cancer may lead to serious complications due to delayed treatment, especially when diagnosis and...