Approach to Care Cancer Patients
Cancer patients should have the best options for care from diagnosis of the disease until after treatment for them to survive, and hence there is a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care. This tactic groups together health professionals that have the best skills to consider a particular type of cancer treatment and the care options. Together with having the best medicines, the doctors, nutritionists, therapists, and other healthcare providers offer a variety of available choices in the managing of a particular cancer disease. This type of care, when delivered in the appropriate manner, has the potential to provide a way for the patients of cancer to have better management of their disease and go on to enjoy a quality life. This research paper is going to analyze cancer from the initial diagnosis and staging to complications and the various side effects it has on patients and the best approach to care.
Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer
The diagnosis of cancer begins when an individual has symptoms that suggest he/she has cancer or the screening tests that are done by the doctor also indicate that one has cancer. The doctor asks for family history regarding cancer to determine whether there is any risk probability for it. Lab tests are done on body fluids such as blood and urine to determine the levels of certain substances that may indicate cancer depending on how high or low they are on the patient, and this makes it possible for the doctor to make a diagnosis. Diagnosis done through lab tests is important but can sometimes be unreliable and thus resulting in other procedures being done to try and confirm the results. Imaging procedures are done to the patient to seek to establish if there is any tumor present. Some of the imaging procedures that are done include ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI's, X-rays and radionuclide tests. They all have different methods in which they use in the detection of any tumor that may be present in the patient. The surest way to confirm cancer in the body is through doing a biopsy on the patient on the suspected area of the body. This is a procedure that is done on the patient where the doctor takes a tissue sample of the suspected area and then analyzed by a pathologist to confirm if the cells of the tissue are cancerous. Small tissue or fluid is obtained by using a syringe or endoscopy is done using special tools. In difficult areas, surgery which is either incisional or excisional is performed to obtain a sample of the tumor. Excisional biopsy is where the whole tumor is removed by the surgeon together with a part of the tissue surrounding the tissue that is normal while the incisional biopsy is where a section of the tumor is removed by the surgeon.
Staging of cancer begins during diagnosis considering the size of the tumor and its growth determining whether it has spread to other organs. This is important because it determines how severe the cancer could be and the best treatments for a particular case. As more information is gathered about cancer, so does the staging methods and structures evolve. Some of the staging methods cover the specific type of cancer while others focus on a variety of cancers. Most of the cancers have four stages while others have different stages. The first stage of cancer is when the tumor identified although invasive is still small and has not spread to the surrounding tissues, the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. The second stage of cancer is when the invasive tumor has spread to the surrounding tissues or possibly to the lymph nodes but not to the other parts of the body. The third stage is when the tumor has grown large than in the prior two steps and has possibly spread to another organ due to the extensive growth. The fourth stage is a dangerous one where there is the extensive spread of cancer away from the original location to the other parts of the body.
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Different types of cancers have various complications that may arise during diagnosis and treatment that have an adverse impact on the health of the patient. One difficulty that arises with cancer is cancer recurrence. People who have had and survived cancer may have complication where it returns. Some types of cancer have a high probability of re-occurrence than others. The doctors may come up with a care plan for a patient after treatment about the different ways the patient can reduce the risk of occurrence. It may include going back for assessment in a periodic manner to detect any re-occurrence of cancer. Another complication that could happen is the unusual reaction by the immune system of the patient towards cancer. In some cases of cancer, the immune system of the body reacts to the invasive tumor by attacking the other healthy cells instead of the unusual ones.
The unusual reaction by the body is known as Paraneoplastic syndrome which could make the problem worse for the patient let alone cancer . Another complication that could also come up is the change of the chemical chains in the body. The spread of the tumor can disturb the normal chemical balance in the body which could lead a serious reaction from the body. Some of the symptoms that indicate a chemical imbalance in the body are excessive sweating, thirst, and confusion. Problems in the brain and the nervous systems in brain tumors and weight loss and diarrhea are some of the complications involved in a cancer case.
Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Cancer treatment is done through chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and surgery among others. All of these treatments may have some side effects to the health of the patient. Some of the common side effects caused by some of these treatments include pain that is caused by the invasive tumor itself and after surgery. Most cancer treatments bring about nausea and vomiting to the patients although there are drugs that are available to control that. Chemotherapy, as well as radiotherapy, done on the chest, can over time cause heart problems depending on various risk factors. This is due by the high doses of chemotherapy or in a situation where the patient was treated for Hodgkin lymphoma early in their life. Another side effect that is involved with cancer treatment is high blood pressure which needs the patient to monitor if it is abnormal. The risk of hypertension, however, decreases when the patient stops getting the cancer treatment.
Infertility in both men and women in treatments that are for the reproductive systems is another side effect experienced is some cases. This may be temporary or permanent depending on the body response towards the cancer treatment. Hormonal therapy and chemotherapy may cause pain in the joints and thin of the bones. This is very likely to people who during treatment of cancer are not physically active and are tobacco smokers with high alcohol intake. Radiotherapy can also lead to long-term problems with the brain, spinal cord, and the nervous system. Some of them include loss of hearing ability due to the high doses of drugs such Platinol in chemo.
Reducing Physical and Psychological Effects
Some of the physical effects of cancer can be reduced by methods provided by the doctors and health care professionals. Effects like nausea and vomiting, patients are given of anti-nausea medications. The patients should be counseled on keeping a positive attitude towards the medicine as studies show that patients expecting to have nausea experience it more than those who do not. Fatigue in cancer patients is common in almost 80% of the total number of patients. Patients should eat properly with a diet that is nutritious and avoid heavy workloads and have lots of rest. Hearing loss that is caused by high chemotherapy doses may be irreversible if the impact is severe and cochlear implants are one of the ways in which to treat hearing loss. Drugs involved in chemotherapy destroy hair roots aiming to kill the rapidly replicating cancerous cells in the body. This is, however, temporary, and the hair goes on to grow after a period after the treatment. Patients may shave the rest of the hair and or put on wigs for public appearances or better looks. Patients that experience diarrhea should take a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration and eat foods that have high fiber content. These are some of the ways one would combat some of the physical effects of cancer.
The psychological effects that cancer brings include distress among people who have it depending on certain aspects of their sickness. Loss of control, confusion, fear, anger, and guilt are some of the feelings of distress that manifest themselves from chronic cancer illness. There is concern about communication and body image and family issues as well with fear of planning for the future as a response to the fear of death. One method to reduce this effect is joining of cancer support programs that enable the patients to speak about their feelings and joining peer support programs which will allow them to engage with survivors who had the same problem. This helps the patients discover that they are not alone and there is hope once one is positive in his/her experience. There are online forums from reputable cancer institutions that provide cancer forums and information for the people affected. The psychological effects of cancer can be reduced by giving the affected patient hope and offering a positive environment that will help them accept the outcome of the sickness.
The diagnosis and treatment program for cancer patients has to be done in isolation for it to be effective. It is important because it offers a control plan that aims at curing cancer and prolonging the life of the patient considerably. The program for diagnosis and treatment has to be linked to another program for early detection .This ensures more efficient treatment and increases the chances of cure for the patients, therefore, giving hope for a better quality of life. A palliative care program is also vital to the patients whose cancer disease does not respond to treatment and is advanced because it offers relief from the psychological and physical effects that they go through. In the event of limited resources, the program of better care for cancer patients should target all cases that are curable such as cervical and prostate cancers that are detected early.