Assignment on Describing the Approach of Cancer


Write a paper (1,250-1,750 words) describing the approach to care of cancer. In addition, include the following in your paper:
1.Describe the diagnosis and staging of cancer.
2.Describe at least three complications of cancer, the side effects of treatment, and methods to lessen physical and psychological effects.
3.Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.


1. Describe the diagnosis and staging of cancer.


The cells that grow uncontrollably, either due to defects or mutation of the DNA and invade other cells or tissues is termed as cancer. Till date it has been found that about two hundred varieties of cancer exist on this earth. When something causes a normal cell of a human body to grow potentially can gradually turn to cancer which usually happens as an outcome of exposure to chemical compounds or toxins, radiation from ionizers, contact with certain pathogens or simply human genetics. Currently, there are several methods to screen and diagnose cancer but these are much based on presumption and the most definite mode of determining a cancer cell is through the process of screening of the biopsy sample of the suppose tissue. Yet, it should be borne in mind that there are various steps to the diagnosis of cancer and the very first footstep are the medical examinations and the history of the patient. The medical practitioner would, in most cases, suggest tests that will help to find the type of cancer and the location of the cancer cells as well as ask for the reports of complete blood count, level of electrolyte or any other blood study if the practitioner finds appropriate. Imaging studies are often associated with the blood tests which include X-Rays, CT scan, MRIs and even Ultrasound screening if necessary. If the symptom demands, then, the doctor may advice endoscopy, radionuclide scanning, testing of intestinal tract, throat and bronchi may be done. However, the most definitive diagnosis is done through biopsy of the tissue samples. The method of biopsy not only confirms the cancer, it also determines the type of cancer and also finds out the stage at which the cancer is. Staging the cancer is the most significant part of the treatment of cancer because staging explains how extensively the cancer has spread within the body. Cancer is a disease which is not restricted to humans only, it may happen to animals and other organisms too (Davis, 2018).


Staging gives clue to the caregivers regarding the size of the tumor, extent of the spread and also the treatment procedure. Staging is the extent of the particular cancer for an instance the hugeness of the tumour and how much it has spread enables the practitioner to have knowledge about the degree of seriousness of the cancer and the chances of recovery from it. The doctor whist planning the treatment may identify the medical examinations that may be best for the particular patient. A cancer must be referred to by the stage it was diagnosed at, whether it later worsens or improve does not really matter and then the doctor compares the improvement or deterioration reports with the original stage at which it was detected.  The specific tests help to determine the stage and the following are the staging structure. The first is the TNM staging system which is extensively used in most of the hospitals as the primary staging method and it can be found on the pathological reports. It may determine, for example, things like the location of the tumor in the body, the type of cell like adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, size of the growth, identify if it has spread near the lymph nodes or other parts of the body and also gradation of the tumor can be done. Blood cancer, brain and spinal cord tumors require different staging systems. While explaining the TNM system, it is learnt that “T” means the primary tumor and its size and extent of spread, “N” signifies the proximal lymph nodes that is affected by cancer and “M” denotes the metastasis i.e if the cancer has extended from primary location to any other part of the body. When the cancer is detected by this system, there should be a numerical post each alphabet like “TX’means that the primary tumor could not be measured, “T0” means that primary tumor could not be located and T1, T2, T3 refersto the increasing size of the primary tumor. Similarly, “N” and N1, N2, N3 for lymph nodes and “M” and M1, M2, M3 for metastasis distance.
There are many other methods of staging like describing as stage-I, Stage- II gradually ascending with its extent and finally stage IV means that the cancer has already spread to various parts of the body from the epicenter. The other system illustrates like “In Citu” which means that the cancer has formed but not yet spread to other parts, “regional” which means that it has spread to proximal tissues only whereas the word “unknown” signifies that the exact stage cannot be estimated at the time of test (NIH, n.d)

2. Describe at least three complications of cancer, the side effects of treatment, and methods to lessen physical and psychological effects.

Cancer does not arrive alone rather it visits its victims with gamut of difficulties and complications that nearly ruin the patient and desolate him from normal lifestyle. In this thesis, three of the complications would be discussed that are really severe. One of them is the central venous thrombosis that occurs to the patients who are compelled to use silastic catheter for elongated period of time. The scholars have studied the medically evident catheter related central venous thrombosis (CRCVT) and are in opinion that thrombosis is prevalent among these patients who also carry risk factors of nerve and brain damage who undergo percutaneous subclavian  central venous catheterization owing to chemotherapy or parenteral nutrition or in both the cases (De Cicco et al, 1997, p.101- 113). Cancer treatment extensively affects the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and the worst cases evolve when there is a developed tumor in the brain or spinal cord. Cancer is usually found to have a propensity to extend towards the CNS as well as the metastases of the brain whilst malignancy is detected in lung, breast and the melanoma. And it normally occupy the parenchyma or the subarachnoid gap. The PNS witnesses spread through infiltration of the roots of nerves or muscles. In some patients, the effect brings devastation like epidural spine compression, elevated intracranial pressure due to intracranial tumour growth results in edema and repeated seizures, and the most well known is the neurological paraneoplastic syndrome. Cerebro-vascular complications are not uncommon due to hypercoaguable state due to cancer. Then there are injuries that the brain, spine and the PNS endure due to exposure to the radiation. The cruelest of them all is the peripheral neuropathy hastened by chemotherapy. The treatment of cancer negatively affects the immune system of the body and increase infection proneness within the central nervous system (Giglio, Gilbert, 2013). Gastro-intestinal complication is the commonest form of complication that is associated with cancer and the symptoms include constipation, bowel difficulty, diarrhea, fecal impaction and irregular bowel syndrome etc (NIH, n.d).
The side effects  of cancer are varied and depends on the type of cancer one is suffering from, the stage at which it is standing as well as the mode of treatment implemented and changes can be visible both on physical and emotional aspects. Some of the side effects are cured with time while some leave a long lasting impact or mark on the patient. The most seen side effects are feeling of weariness, pain in limbs and bones, lack of libido, infertility and menopause in women, hairfall causing baldness, darkened skin complexion, change of voice and the list is long. The overall experience strips the patient of self confidence and a groping feeling of lowered self esteem emerge. This often paves the way for depression and other mood disorders. The physical damage is sometimes irreparable but the emotional drainage can be overcome through lifestyle modification, yoga, meditation, and also some kind of hormone therapy. It is very important to live a socially active life after the disease is cured. Communication with friends and family, positive thinking would invoke the spirit of life once again and the patient would be able to overcome the trauma of treatment and live a healthy and normal life again.
(1347 words)

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Charles Patrick Davis (2018), Cancer, Retrieved February 12, 2018 from 
National Cancer Institute (n.d), Cancer Staging, Retrieved February 13, 2018 from
De Cicco,M., Matovic M., Balestreri L., Panarello G., Fantin D., Morassut S., Testa V., (1997),  Central Venous Thrombosis: An early and frequent complication in cancer patients bearing long-term silastic catheter:A prospective study, Thrombosis research 86(2), 101-113.
Giglio P., Gilber M.R.,( 2013)PMC: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Neurologic Complications of Cancer and its Treatment, Retrieved on February 13, 2018 from  
National cancer Institute NIH(n.d), Gastrointestinal Complications,Retrieved February 13, 2018 from

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