Table of Contents
Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases in the world and its high prevalence in the current society has attained worrying levels. There exists more than one hundred different types of cancer but vary in terms of their respective development, places they affect and the extent in the increase of abnormal cells. Owing to this aspect, less or lack of adequate concern in terms of addressing its effects end up worsening its state, debilitation and eventually cause death. According to the normal functioning of the cell, they tend to replicate highly resulting to production of new cells. Besides, the death of old cells in the body creates space for the newly produced cells. Normally, activities responsible for control of cellular production do not occur. However, cancer cells have the tendency of growing into other tissues causing them to evade their cellular structure (Sarafino & Smith, 2014). This gives them chance to continue replicating cells with damaged DNA that result into spread of the infection. It is for this reason that scholars allege that damage of structural DNA of the cell limits chances of recovery that often cause death of the cells (Sarafino & Smith, 2014). High number of dead cells in the body causes spread of the infection in the body. In this study, the researcher dwells much on diagnosis, different stages of cancer, complex situations of cancer, its treatments, negative effects and approaches meant to reduce physical as well as emotional effects on human.
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Stages of cancer and Diagnosis
Any symptoms or signs likely to suggest presence of cancer cells in the body would compel doctors to carry out a test and ascertain whether those symptoms are due to cancer or any other infection. Besides, many physicians tend to ask the patient personal as well as family medical history that would aids them in doing a physical examination (Schaap, Aggarwal & Domogauer, 2015). It is from this step that the physician might order for lab a test, scans as well as other appropriate test procedures. Lab tests confirming presence of high or low foreign substances in the body can be one of the signs used by doctors in ascertaining the presence of cancer. However, lab tests do not always give the correct information as it mainly dwells on body fluids such as urine and blood. Thus, despite lab tests being important tools, doctors cannot rely on them fully in diagnosing cancer. Therefore, use of imaging procedures like CT scan, Nuclear scan, Ultrasound, MRI, PET scan and X rays usually doctors clear view of any presence of a tumor in the ailing person’s body (Heller, 2016). Biopsy is another method of diagnosing cancer whereby a physician removes a sample of tissue from the body and diagnoses if it has cancer.
Before launching an appropriate treatment of cancer, physicians always need to know the amount and location of cancer in the body. For instance, in case an early stage cancer appears in the patient, surgery or radiation can is appropriate. However, a more advanced stage cancer would require chemotherapy because knowing the stage of cancer also helps doctors in predicting the best action to take against the infection. There are two main types of staging of cancer;
This is always an estimation of the amount of cancer in the body based on results from physical examination and imaging procedures. The stage forms the baseline of decision to take depending on the response of cancer to treatment.
This stage relies on examinations as well as test done before in the clinical stage. In many health institutions, TNM staging system is the major method applied in pathogenic cancer stages. This system concerns location of the primary tumor, number of nearby lymph nodes having cancer and the presence of cancer in body parts. TNM system has a unique structure of identifying the extent of damage caused by cancer in the body. For instance, T stands for primary tumor. TX reading from the system reveals that measuring the main tumor is impossible, T0 reveals the main tumor is not present or rather cannot be identified. T1, T2, T3, T4 gives the size or extent of the tumor evident in the body. Hence, as the number of T increases, it is evident that the tumor is large or it has spread to the nearby tissues. N stands for regional lymph nodes and M for distant metastasis both having a similar interpretation as T (Ohno et al, 2015).
Complications of cancer
Cancer has high chances of causing brain as well as nervous problems to a patient. It presses on nearby nerves that culminate to pain and dysfunction of one part of the body. Cancer involving nervous system can cause constant headaches that might later lead to stroke of it remains undetected. Besides, spread of the tumor in the brain leaves the patient with minimal chances of survival or a permanent brain damage (Ohno et al., 2015).
In some cases, there are unusual reactions between immune system and cancer. For instance, immune system might react in response of the foreign cancer cells and end up attacking healthy cells in the body. This disorder normally referred as paraneoplastic syndrome is always rare but it ends yielding to difficulties linked to one’s walking and seizures. This might limit chances of a patient surviving subsequent treatment offered to him or her (Ohno et al, 2015).
The complication of cancer that returns has always been another difficulty experienced among cancer patients or patients that might have cancer in past. Cancer survivors tend to have high risk of recurrence and the effect of the second cancer infection can be so fatal in the body. Thus, cancer survivors have to visit doctors for frequent checkups to confirm their state concerning cancer infection (Ohno et al, 2015).
Side effects of cancer treatment
Pedersen, Koktved and Nielsen (2013) assert that side effects posed by cancer treatment vary from person to person. This is because some patients tend to show few side effects while other show many effects. For instance, chemotherapy, which is the efficient treatment of advance cancer, causes some side effects contingent to the specific kind of cancer, its locality, drugs as well as prescriptions tied with health of a patient (Pedersen, Koktved & Nielsen, 2013). Chemotherapy has intensity on active body cells; however, the active body cells have the tendency of growing and dividing. This implies that chemotherapy also damages healthy cells in the body. Other common side effects include
- Loss of appetite
- Infection and neutropenia
Methods to lessen physical and psychological effects
All patients fighting cancer often experience psychological stress. This is because cancer tends to bring a range of emotions such as shock, fear, guilt, vulnerability, depression as well as anxiety. Hence, if not handled or managed appropriately might end up overwhelming the ailing and eventually he or she die of another complication other than the cancer itself. This is the reason other physicians normally come in like psychiatrists with a view to deal with issues that touch on his or her field with a view to boost the ailing people’s immunity and withstand whatever they are undergoing with hope and believe they will recuperate. Since, these physical and psychological effects have to be on the minimum among cancer patients to increase their chance of survival from cancer. Based on arguments posed by Sarafino and Smith (2014), more psychological as well as physical effects on patients lead to low responsiveness of the body to treatment done on the patient. This limits chances of treating cancer among individuals who are surviving from physical and psychological effects of cancer. Therefore, physical and psychological is normal and necessary as it forms the integral part of cancer care.
Ways of improving physical and psychological wellbeing
- Seeking constant professional counseling mainly aids in boosting the ailing person’s self-esteem and believe they will recuperate. Hence, eliminating self-pity and the notion once one contracts cancer he or she is like has been condemned to death sentence that must occur.
- Relaxation therapies, which include the simple ones like laugher therapy to the complex ones, for instance, stress management interventions to shun incidences of depression among the ailing.
- Try to make the patient have a general view of cancer in that it has different meaning to each individual and everyone has his own experiences about this menace.
- Practice healthy lifestyle choices.
From the above discussion on cancer, it is evident that the disease is fatal and has been the leading cause of loss of lives in the present society. However, diagnosis and treatment options of the menace give a cancer patient hope for living. This is because treatment of cancer is possible mainly on early stages. Moreover, the treatment of cancer always encompasses various side effects that hinder effective treatment of cancer on patients. This calls for more care of cancer patients to decrease the effect of treatment that might be offered on them as well as maintaining their psychological health.
- Heller, M. (2016). Clinical Medical Assisting: A Professional, Field Smart Approach to the Workplace. Boston, Massachusetts, United States: Cengage Learning.
- Ohno, Y., Koyama, H., Yoshikawa, T., Takenaka, D., Seki, S., Yui, M., …& Sugimura, K. (2015). Three-way comparison of whole-body MR, coregistered whole-body FDG PET/MR, and integrated whole-body FDG PET/CT imaging: TNM and stage assessment capability for non–small cell lung cancer patients. Radiology, 275(3), 849-861.
- Pedersen, B., Koktved, D. P. & Nielsen, L. L. (2013). Living with side effects from cancer treatment–a challenge to target information. Scandinavian journal of caring sciences, 27(3), 715-723.
- Sarafino, E. P., & Smith, T. W. (2014). Health psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions. Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley & Sons.
- Schaap, A., Aggarwal, R. & Domogauer, J. (2015). Patient awareness of staging in cancer diagnosis: Helpful or hurtful. Proceedings: AACR 106th Annual Meeting, 75(15 Supplement), 3429-3429.