Cancer is a disease that involves excessive cell proliferation, making a certain type of cell to be produced in extra quantities, which later invades other cells. The signs and symptoms that could suggest a patient is suffering from cancer are a lump or tumor growth, abnormal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, and bowel changes. The lump is the most widespread clinical sign of the disease. The diagnosis of cancer and its staging is important to select appropriate treatment while managing the side effects of the treatment, disease complication, and ensuring the comfort of the patient during the provided care. Namely for that reason, the cancer nursing care plan aims at helping healthcare workers follow all procedures accurately.
Diagnosis of Cancer
The confirmation of a cancer diagnosis is made by means of a tissue biopsy of the tumor or its secretions. A biopsy examination is the only method that can provide a definite positive or a negative diagnosis. Other diagnostic methods that can give a probable diagnosis of cancer include the use of x-rays to make an image through the use of electromagnetic waves and the Computed Tomography (CT) aimed at examining the inside structure of the target part of the body. An Ultra-sonography can also be used to study the composure of the intended body part.
Staging of Cancer
The process of staging cancer is conducted during the induction of treatment in order to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for the patient. The stages include 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stage respectively. The first stage of cancer is characterized by the primary tumor being very small and localized within the organ in which it started. The second stage of cancer involves a tumor enlargement compared to the first stage but still localized to the original organ. It sometimes includes the spread of cancer to adjacent tissues. The third stage reveals a large tumor that has metastases in the surrounding tissues and the lymph nodes. The fourth stage of cancer means that it has gone past the lymph nodes and into other body organs.
Complications of Cancer
The metastasis of cancer causes serious complications on the body of a patient, with these having a high potential to lead to death. Cancer that originates in the lungs or spreads to the lungs or the accessory muscles can bring about breathing difficulties and suffocation. This can happen when the muscles aiding in breathing together with the diaphragm are affected. Cancer may also spread to the tissues of the brain and the spinal cord to cause neurological manifestations such as schizophrenia and other defects in the nervous system of a person. The most common complication of cancer is chronic pain. The growth of the tumor creates pressure on the nerves that then cause painful sensations.
Side Effects of the Treatment of Cancer
The treatment of cancer is accompanied by numerous side effects that normally result from aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Hair loss that causes baldness is one of these. The patient loses hair due to exposure to radiation during the process of treatment. The medication employed causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. This makes it difficult for the patient to eat or retain food resulting in muscle wasting and weight loss. Regular headaches and constant fatigue are other common side effects.
Reducing the Psychological and Physiological Effects of the Treatment
The best approach to reduce the effects of the treatment accorded to cancer patients is through a combination of guidance and counseling, psychotherapy, interpersonal therapies, and the inclusion of physical therapy. Family and interpersonal therapy enable the patient to express emotions and feelings, an important step towards allaying anxiety. Management of the patient’s pain will reduce their stress and also encourage physical mobility. The role of a nurse in fulfilling a nursing care plan for cancer to a bedridden cancer patient is important in relieving the physiological stress of the latter through self-care deficit compensation. This ensures the patient is provided with all the basic needs and a comfortable environment to reduce the pressure in coping with the disease. Approach to the Treatment of Cancer Nursing care plan for cancer patients involves different methods that seek to stop the spread of the tumor, make remission a possibility, or reduce the suffering of the patient. The various modules of treatment include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, and palliative care. Although palliative care is not a method of treatment, it is a critical management strategy of chronic cancer. The involvement of the patient’s family is a key aspect of any approach to treatment due to their role in fostering patient cooperation and determination.
The first treatment intervention after a positive diagnosis is chemotherapy. It is a process that entails the use of different types of anticancer medication. The medication’s purpose is to reduce the severity of the symptoms or boost the process of cancer remission. The examples of common classes of drugs used in the management of cancer are antimetabolites such as methotrexate, purine antagonists like mercaptopurine, and alkaloids derived from plants such as vincristine. The use of other medications to reduce pain, such as, diclofenac and morphine, are also part of the chemotherapy. These medications are intended to stop the progression of a small primary tumor during the first stages of cancer.
Radiotherapy and Surgery
Radiotherapy is a form of treatment where the use of radiation energy is employed to destroy cancerous cells, stop the progression of cancer, and/or to encourage remission. This kind of therapy is usually combined with cancer medication to increase the aggressiveness and effectiveness of the treatment. Radiotherapy is introduced at different stages of cancer depending on its type. For instance, in breast cancer, radiotherapy is used simultaneously with chemotherapy as soon as the diagnosis is made.
Management of the Patient’s and Family’s Anxiety
In the process of treatment, it is important to observe and fulfill other needs of the patient and the family that arise as a result of the predicament of cancer. It is essential to provide them with nursing education regarding the type of cancer. This will be beneficial in fostering cooperation of the patient in the process of treatment. It will also inform the patient and the family about the peculiarities of the treatment process, such as what to expect as positive outcomes or side effects. The nursing education will allay the patient’s anxiety because the patient will be aware of the significance of the different interventions. This will influence a good working relationship between the patient and the treatment team, sustaining the relevant quality of care.
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Management of Pain and Palliative Care
Pain management is the most important aspect of cancer treatment because chronic severe pain is the worst manifestation of cancer. The use of opium and its congeners, such as morphine, hydromorphone, and methadone, is relatively effective in the management of pain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is critical in complementing the role of painkillers in this process. The nurse engages the patient in the therapy that will enable them to accept their problem and develop coping mechanisms. Palliative care is basically the pain management care provided to a patient to relieve the symptoms of painful sensation while managing complications due to unavailability of treatment options or the hope of recovery. It involves providing the patient with an environment of their choice, managing their pain, and also dealing with the stress of the patient’s family members.
In conclusion, the diagnosis of cancer is confirmed by a tissue biopsy but other methods of probable diagnosis represented by the x-ray, CT scan, ultrasonography and biochemical tests such as a complete blood count also exist. The division of cancer into its respective stages is important in the formulation of an appropriate approach to treatment. The evaluation of whether it is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th stage is made on the basis of how far cancer has spread to the adjacent lymph nodes or to other organs. Cancer nursing care plan suggests strategies such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, management of patient’s anxiety and pain, as well as palliative care in instances where treatment is not successful.