Approach to Care of Cancer
Cancer is a term used for diseases in which irregular cells divide without any control and have the capability to penetrate and infect normal body tissue through the blood and lymph system. Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in the United States, exceeded barely by heart disease. According to the CDC Cancer Statistics and Data, there were more than 1.45 million people diagnosed with various kind of cancer between 1999 and 2007 and out of those more than 562,000 people died due to cancer (cdc.gov, 2012). Currently there are more than 200 different types of cancer that have been discovered. Cancer could be developed in any organ of the body. There are more than 60 different organs in the body where cancer cells can form and invade body tissues. While the origin of several cancers remains unknown, there are several cancers that are caused due to various reasons like exposure to chemicals, great alcohols intake, smoking, atmosphere poisons, sunlight disclosure, inherited, radiations, and illness. This paper will talk about the approach to, diagnosing of and staging of cancer, as well as the symptoms, side effects of treatment, and methods used to diminish physical and psychological effects of cancer and treatment. Cancer Diagnosis and Staging
How can cancer be diagnosed? Unfortunately researchers have not invented a device to diagnose cancer with one single test. The comprehensive assessment of a patient generally requires a detailed history and physical assessment along with analytical testing. Several tests are required to decide whether a person has cancer, or if another situation is imitating the warning signs of cancer. In order to diagnose the existence of cancer, a doctor must investigate the affected tissue under a microscope. Therefore, when a person experiences some of the warning signs for cancer or the outcomes of screening tests show the potential existence of cancer, a doctor will suggest that the patient have a biopsy test. A biopsy is the surgical procedure that removes a small portion of tissue to investigate under a microscope. Microscopic assessment will provide evidence for the doctor as to whether the tumor is truly present. If it is present, they will analyze whether it is a non-cancerous or cancerous cell. There are three ways to perform biopsy: needle biopsy (taking a small portion of tissue by inserting a needle into a doubtful area), surgical biopsy (removal of an entire or partial portion of the tumor) and endoscopy (using a thin lighted tube to investigate suspicious areas of the body and take pictures). Once the doctor verifies the presence of cancer through a biopsy, the doctor has to also verify the growth rate of the cancerous cell. Biopsy provides the doctor with critical information such as whether the tumor is cancerous or non- cancerous, what type of cancer and the growth of the tumor.
Once the cancer has been diagnosed, the doctor will begin to further investigate the stage, or level, of the cancer. This procedure is known as “staging” and it informs the doctor about the severity of the cancer. Treatment assessments are based on the outcome of staging. The TNM system is one of the most commonly utilized cancer staging systems. Nearly all medical facilities utilize the TNM system as their main technique to report cancer. The TNM assessment system is based on the amount and/or level of the main tumor (T), the amount of dispersion to close by lymph nodes (N), and the existence of metastasis (M) also known as secondary tumors produced as a result of the extend of cancer cells to other components of the body. A numeric value is added to every letter to specify the amount and/or level of the main tumor and the extent of cancer growth. Most types of cancer uses TNM assessment system to stage the intensity of the cancer. However, some types of cancer do not use this system. Cancer in the blood and bone marrow uses a different staging system. Several cancer registries, such as those maintained by NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, utilize a common staging system that describe the phase of all types of cancer : In situ- early stages of cancer that has not spread to nearby tissues Localized cancer- growth of cancer cells could only be found in the organ Regional spread- cancer cell has broaden to the neighboring tissues or lymph nodes Distant spread- cancer cell has reached deep into the other organs and systems of the body away from the actual tumor location
Each cancer grows and forms in a different way. The phase of cancer at the point of diagnosis varies for different cancers. Therefore, staging is performed by means of various methods such as MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging), CT (Computed tomography), X-rays, blood tests and special surgery. The three main reasons why staging of cancer is performed are: it determines the depth of the disease, helps determine the treatment by the phase of the cancer and helps determine the patient’s projection of treatment and survival. Symptoms of Cancer
Since prevention is the most significant cancer preventing tool, it is essential that cancer be discovered as soon as possible prior to infecting the whole body. The symptoms of cancer will depend based on the location, size, and how greatly it influences the organs or tissues. If a cancer cell has extended over large area of the body, then symptoms will definitely appear in various parts of the body. When a cancer grows, it will start to press on close by organs and blood vessels. This pressure indicates symptoms of cancer formation. If the cancer is located at a crucial area, such as the brain, then the tiniest tumor can show symptoms instantaneously. On the other hand, there are types of cancer that begin in places where it will not show any symptoms until it has developed fairly big in size. Side-effects of Cancer Treatment
Since cancer cells grow and split more quickly than regular cells, many anti-cancer medications are developed to destroy any growing cells . There are certain healthy cells in our body that multiply at the same rate as cancer cells. Therefore, these cells are affected during chemotherapy too. As a result, damage to regular cells causes side-effects. Some of the most affected rapid growing cells are blood cells, digestive tract, reproductive system, and hair follicles. Some anti-cancer medication might have an effect on cells of vital organs, such as the nervous system, heart, lungs, and kidney. Some patients may have few or no side effects. The type of side effects a patient get and how harsh they are, all depend on the category and amount of chemotherapy the patient receives and how their bodies react to the treatment. Prior to starting the chemotherapy, doctors will talk about the side effects that a patient is most probable to obtain when receiving medication. Once the chemotherapy is over, normal cells begin to recover and grow normally. The time frame for side effects to die out depends on various components, including a patient’s overall physical condition and the type of chemotherapy received. Methods to Diminish Physical and Psychological Effects of Cancer A patient diagnosed with cancer must learn how to cope with psychological and physical stress.
Researchers have confirmed that patients gain knowledge and training to cope with psychological stress through social and emotional support. Such support can diminish intensity of unhappiness, concern and treatment related stress among patients. Some of the approaches incorporates the following: training in relaxing or meditating, attending counseling therapy, attending cancer related sessions, involving in social gatherings, taking depression medications and exercising on a daily basis. There are a large number of free organizations dedicated to assisting cancer patients and their families to be aware of cancer, methods to deal with diseases, and understanding how treatment and the healing process will work. Eventually these organizations help cancer patients and their cherished ones discover the emotional support required to expressively survive the cancer healing process. After treatment, a patient might still experience some physical effects. Some patients recover quickly and get back to doing normal day to day things, while some patients have physical effects that hinder their improvement. IN this case, it is the responsibility of the patients to pace themselves and give themselves enough time to recover and adjust. Conclusion
Being diagnosed with cancer is a life changing and extensive procedure. At the same time, the patient goes through a healing process where the relatives and friends of the patient undergo a great phase of suffering as well. When a patient goes through treatment, they depend on their cherished ones to be present nearby and support them psychologically. This support method from dear ones aids the patient through the healing process both physically and emotionally. Although obstacles might occur, the love and care given from friends and relatives help the cancer patient to strive during their suffering. Eventually, the best result for a cancer patient is accomplished when an appropriate support method is put in place to help the patient not just physically, but emotionally in order to get through the cancer healing process.
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