Cancer refers to a cluster of diseases that exhibit anomalous cell growth, which can spread to other tissues. According to recent research, cases of cancer are on the rise (Banasik & Copstead, 2014). In the article below, the diagnosis, staging, complications, side effects, and the means of lessening the physical and psychological effects of cancer are illustrated.
Diagnosis of cancer
To diagnose the manifestation of cancer, a physician should examine a section of the tumor under a microscope. When individuals manifest any symptoms of cancer or the outcomes of their screening examinations show the probable existence of the disease, a physician should carry out a biopsy. Biopsy refers to the medical removal of a tiny portion of tissue for microscopic analysis (Banasik & Copstead, 2014). Through the examination, a physician will be able to identify the presence of a tumor. Equally, the examination will tell the physician if the tumor is cancerous or non-cancerous. Models to be examined can be obtained through endoscopy and needle or surgical biopsies. Through endoscopy, a doctor utilizes a lighted tube to access and take pictures of the patient’s inner organs and remove the suspected tissue parts for examination. Needle biopsy allows the doctors to remove tiny parts of the suspected tissue for examination. On the other hand, surgical biopsy allows doctors to remove parts or entire tumors whenever cancer is diagnosed to be present in the tissues.
After physicians have detached the tumor and established the existence of cancer, they should analyze the aggressiveness of the disease. By doing so, they will be able to establish the growth rate of the disease in the patient’s body (Banasik & Copstead, 2014). To achieve this, the physician has to examine the tumor with the aid of a microscope to establish the similarities and the dissimilarities of the tumor cells. Cells that bear a resemblance to their parent cells are referred to as well-differentiated cells (Banasik & Copstead, 2014). On the other hand, cells that slightly bear a resemblance to their parent cells are referred to as poorly differentiated cells. As such, a poorly differentiated cell is likely to propagate more compared to a well-differentiated cell.
Staging of cancers
When the diagnosis of the disease has been undertaken, the physician should carry out its staging. The staging process will inform the physician about the extent of the disease in the patient’s body. The treatment process is determined by the outcomes of the staging process. As such, cancer stages can be categorized into four. The stages are in situ, local, regional, and distant. In situ refers to the infancy stage of the disease. At this stage, the disease has not spread to the adjacent tissues. At a local stage, the cancer is restricted to the parent organ (Jungi, 2013). The regional stage is reached when the disease spreads to the neighboring tissues. On the other hand, a distant stage is reached when the disease has spread to other tissues and systems in the patient’s body.
Based on the above illustrations, it is clear that staging of cancer is very essential in managing the disease. For instance, at in situ and local stages, the disease can be easily managed. In this respect, staging aids in establishing the client’s prognosis.
Complications of cancer
Cancer has a number of complications. Subject to the patient’s wellbeing and the phase of the growth, the disease’s complications can be a pain, weariness, and even death (Lee & Wolin, 2014). Listed below are some of the complications associated with the disease. A major complication of the disease is pain. As the tumor grows, it may spread into the adjacent cells. Similarly, the growing tumor may exert pressure on the neighboring cells. Through these, the patient may feel pain. Pain can be classified into three categories. The categories are visceral, somatic, and neuropathic. Visceral pain results from injured tissues (Jungi, 2013). Somatic pain results from aching on the skin, muscles, or bones. Neuropathic pain results from the damage of the nervous system. One of the main physical complications of cancer is pain. To treat pain associated with the disease, a physician should be able to classify the pain. Thereafter, the physician will come up with ways of treatment that will help the patients in handling the aching. The available treatments comprise non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids.
Fatigue is another complication associated with cancer. Cancer may cause patients to experience a decreased capability to sustain force resulting in muscular weakness (Lee & Wolin, 2014). Similarly, the disease may cause patients to have lessened capability to carry out mental tasks leading to lack of concentration, reduced interest in activities, and increased daytime sleepiness. Variations in the skeletal muscle protein supplies because of the presence of a tumor in the body, alteration in the immune system, dyspnea, and dehydration are responsible for fatigue in cancer patients (Banasik & Copstead, 2014). A number of treatment methods are utilized to manage fatigue in cancer patients. With the use of drugs such as antidepressants and psychostimulants concentration conditions can be managed (Jungi, 2013). Similarly, cancer patients can manage their fatigue by exercising regularly. As such, exercises improve patients’ appetite and help them to strengthen their muscles. Improved dieting is another way of managing fatigue in cancer patients. By eating balanced and adequate diet, patients can be able to enhance their energy levels.
Another major cancer complication is metastasis. The complication results from the spread of the infected cells from one tissue, organ, or system to another. Researches indicate that a number of cancer deaths are associated with the complication. The deaths result when the disease affects essential organs like the brain, skeleton, liver, and lungs (Jungi, 2013). It has been noted that certain cancers spread to some parts of the body more aggressively than other parts. For instance, breast cancer easily propagates to the liver and respiratory systems compared to the other body parts. Isolated metastasis can be treated through surgical surgery.
The fourth complication associated with cancer is nausea. Nausea among cancer patients results from the gastrointestinal tract metabolic disorders, or anxiety (Jungi, 2013). To treat the complication, doctors should identify the underlying causes. As such, the most utilized methods of treating this complication are medication, diet, and palliative surgery. Drugs such as corticosteroids and dopamine may be utilized as malignant bowel obstruction. With respect to dieting, foods that are likely to trigger nausea should be avoided by the patients.
Cancer treatments and side effects
Cancer patients are usually treated through three options. The options are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy (Jungi, 2013). It should be noted that the above options results in a number of side effects such as fatigue, nausea, hair loss, diarrhea, skin changes, nail changes, and pain. Nausea is caused by chemotherapy. To minimize the side effect, patients are treated with anti-nausea drugs. Exhaustion results from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. To avoid fatigue, patients under chemotherapy should work out regularly and eat proper diets. Hair loss results from chemotherapy and radiation. Diarrhea is caused by chemotherapy. Patients experiencing these side effects are advised to take fluids. Some patients may develop reactions to chemotherapy leading to changes in their skins and nails.
Recommendations to address physiological and psychological side effects of care
Psychological side effects of care experienced by cancer patients include shock, fear, guilt, sadness, anxiety, depression, anger, feelings of isolation, and vulnerability. To address these side effects patients should make healthy life choices. Through this, they will be able avoid fatigue complications. Similarly, the patients should share their feelings with the physicians and their family members. As a result, they will be consoled. In addition, the patients should seek professional counseling. Through counseling, they will be taught on how to manage their emotions.
Physical side effects of cancer include fatigue, pain, nausea, anemia, hair loss, and skin changes (Jungi, 2013). The best way to address fatigue is to exercise regularly. To address nausea patients should take anti-nausea medications. Similarly, to address hair loss patients should cover their heads with toupees.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the understanding of cancer’ s diagnosis, staging, complications, side effects, and means of lessening its physical and psychological effects is a vital step towards the management of the disease. Owing to this, physicians should be informed on the care of cancer.
Banasik, J., & Copstead, L. (2014). Study guide: Pathophysiology. (5th ed). St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier, Saunders.
Jungi, W. (2013). Cancer care in the community & cancer care in the hospital.European Journal of Cancer, 164-16
Lee, I., & Wolin, K. (2014). Physical Activity and Survival After Cancer Diagnosis in Men. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 85-90.