Cancer is one of the killer diseases that is claiming many people around the world. Healthcare providers encourage individuals to conduct regular tests and examinations to understand their health status and promote early detection of the different types of cancer prevalent in other population groups worldwide. It should be noted that the nursing process in the treatment of cancer is a rigorous one that exposes the patient to a challenging environment. Before the treatment approach is selected, individuals are exposed to a staging process where details about cancer, such as the tumor size and how it has spread around the body, are identified. From this perspective, the treatment option is influenced by the information acquired from the staging process and the possible patient reaction from different treatment regiments. Therefore, discussing the outcomes of the staging process with loved ones enables patients to cope with the diagnosis and develop a positive perspective towards life that allows them to overcome the different issues affecting their health status.
The Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer
Cancer manifests itself through different symptoms that may affect the health status of individuals. However, these symptoms are triggered by other illnesses, benign tumors, or underlying medical issues such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. From this observation, individuals are advised to seek medical advice if they experience unending symptoms that affect their overall health status. Given that cancer does not expose people to painful experiences, individuals are discouraged against waiting until they begin encountering the symptoms associated with pain (Ankeny, Court, Hou, Li, Song, Wu, & Rochefort, 2016). Some of the signs that may cause cancer include breast changes where one may feel a lump in their breast or beneath their arm. If one experiences pain when urinating, it should be tested for cancer. In the same vein, eating problems associated with appetite changes also indicate that one may have cancer. By analyzing these symptoms, people should visit a medical facility to avoid speculations revolving around their overall health status.
If one has a screen test result indicating they could have cancer, the physician establishes whether the symptoms are attributed to cancer or other illnesses within the body. In this case, the doctor will evaluate the patient’s family medical history and whether they may have exhibited similar symptoms before. Lab tests, imaging scans, and other laboratory procedures are used to clarify the issue, making the physician understand the cause of the symptoms before recommending an appropriate treatment method. However, a biopsy is the only guaranteed medical procedure that enables medical practitioners to ascertain whether a patient has cancer or not. Importantly, lab tests play an essential role in diagnosing cancer because of their ability to test blood and urine samples to measure the levels of certain substances in the body. Apart from testing blood and urine samples, doctors may request tissue samples for tumor markers, which enable them to ascertain the causes of the cancer cells and establish an appropriate treatment regimen for the diagnosed patient. Therefore, lab tests are critical in cancer diagnosis because of their ability to reveal intricate details about a patient’s overall health and recovery based on their reaction to the different tests.
Imaging tests are conducted to evaluate certain body parts where a tumor is present. In this regard, doctors will recommend imaging tests to identify cancer’s size and the spread of the cancer cells within the specified body part. Notably, the images can be retrieved through a CT scan, which provides 3-D imagery that portrays the suspected tumor’s actual impact within the body. Before being exposed to the scan, a patient may be required to swallow a dye or insert a needle in their veins to increase image clarity and enable the physicians to get more detailed readings regarding the cancer cells. During the CT-scan, a patient lies on a table where a round-shaped scanner moves around them, capturing the desired images. A nuclear scan is another approach that can be used to obtain results about the cancer cells spread inside the patient’s body. Before the scan, a patient must swallow a radioactive substance that moves across the bloodstream and collects in various body parts. During the scan, the scanner will trace the movements of the radioactive material and establish the impact of the cancer cells of specific body organs. After the scan, the patient will lose the radioactive material through their stool or urine.
Staging enables individuals to understand the extent of cancer inside their bodies. In the same vein, the medical process allows doctors to establish the seriousness of cancer and the patient’s chances of survival. After collecting the relevant details, doctors recommend a suitable treatment approach that enables individuals to understand the impact of the diagnosed disease and whether they can be registered for clinical trials to test new medicine’s efficacy. Staging systems such as the TNM staging system enable doctors to examine different cancers and develop an appropriate mechanism that allows individuals to overcome issues, which hinder them from overcoming solutions that affect their health status.
Pain is caused by cancer, or the treatment approach recommended to mitigate the symptoms associated with the killer disease. Often, cancer patients mention fatigue, nausea, and have difficulties in breathing. However, hair loss is one of the most notable side effects of chemotherapy because of the massive radiation rays that affect hair growth in different parts of the body. Patients undergoing chemotherapy are usually advised to use objects with soft bristles that do not extract their hair from the source (Chang, Moudgil, Scarabelli, Okwuosa, & Yeh, 2017). Given the traumatizing experience of falling hair, many patients opt to cut their hair and undergo the process without any emotional distraction that may interfere with their healing process. Given the mixed reaction that people may have after noting their falling hair, individuals are encouraged to speak about their emotions to avoid falling into depression or experiencing other mental health issues that may hinder their recovery process.
Risk Factors to Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the U.S.
Physical inactivity, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption are healthy behaviors that expose individuals to cancer and other deadly diseases. Obesity and being overweight, and poor diet choices contribute significantly to the yearly incidences of cancer in the U.S. and beyond. Even though other aspects, such as exposure to infected blood and sexual practices, may expose one to the cancer-causing cells, individuals should examine their behavior and make informed decisions that safeguard their health interests. Over the years, a causal link between tobacco smoking and numerous cancers has been established. To this end, medical professionals encourage individuals to cease tobacco smoking because of its impact on the health status of individuals. High levels of physical activity can eliminate the probability of contracting cancer by 50%, an aspect that demonstrates the effects of exercising in the world today (Sineshaw, Ng, Flanders, Brawley, & Jemal, 2018). Physical inactivity is linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Excess fats in the body expose individuals to cardiovascular disease, which affects the quality of life people can have. In this case, obesity is linked to breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and prostate cancer, which can be avoided by healthy food options and regular exercise.
What the American Cancer Society is Doing
Given its influence in the community, the American Cancer Society (ACS) can create awareness programs that enhance the understanding of individuals towards the killer disease. Notably, the ACS can encourage individuals to receive regular check-ups whenever they experience unending symptoms that affect their overall health status. Considering the widespread nature of cancer and its contribution to the national mortality rates, the organization should focus on doing more other than promoting awareness. Currently, the ACS is involved in research programs that seek to realize more clinical trials that accommodate many patients who have been diagnosed with cancer (Smith, Andrews, Brooks, Fedewa, Manassaram‐Baptiste, Saslow, & Wender, 2019). Likewise, it offers financial support to individuals and extends accommodation input to patients accessing treatment away from home. The impact of emotional support extends even to the family members who are relieved of the burden to accommodate the distraught nature of cancer patients. Exposing the affected population groups to professional therapists makes it easier for the patients and their families to focus on overcoming the deadly disease.
Utilizing the Nursing Process
In many instances, doctors conduct a biopsy to establish the actual cause of the symptoms exhibited by a patient. During this medical procedure, a doctor extracts a tissue from the patient’s body, where they conduct a series of tests to establish whether an individual has cancer. Unlike in other procedures, a pathologist performs the tests and generates a pathology report highlighting the findings associated with the biopsy. Notably, the biopsy sample may be extracted through a needle where the physician conducts bone marrow aspirations, spinal taps, and other biopsies associated with the liver, prostate, and breast. Similarly, the biopsy sample can be obtained through the endoscopy procedure where doctors use body openings such as the mouth or anus to insert a lighted tube, which allows the doctor to see any abnormal tissues. Notably, colonoscopy enables the doctor to observe the rectum and colon while the bronchoscopy exposes the health practitioner to the trachea, bronchi, and lungs. It should be noted that the physician can extract the abnormal tissue through surgery, where they can remove certain parts of the tissue or the entire component.
How Undergraduate Education Contributes to the Foundation of Nursing Knowledge
A liberal arts education exposes nursing students to an enabling environment where they can interact with different aspects of information that enhance their understanding of nursing knowledge. It should be noted that liberal arts education has evolved over the years to become an inclusive learning program that molds students into all-around individuals who can fit into any environment regardless of their cultural background and values. Considering the different approaches used by learning institutions to streamline the learning concepts used to train nursing professionals, liberal arts education has an accommodative curriculum that prepares learners on the significance of dependence. The modern curriculum in the liberal arts department includes humanities such as linguistics and literature, formal sciences, such as mathematics, social sciences such as history and psychology, and natural sciences, including biology (Labrague, McEnroe–Petitte, Fronda, & Obeidat, 2018). From this observation, a liberal arts education expands nursing professionals’ mindsets and enables them to fit in the fast-paced global environment. Many of the subjects and discussion topics provided in a liberal arts education program train nursing practitioners about the impact of their attitudes and feelings on the patient’s experience and recovery process. Since many nursing students are unaware of the benefits associated with liberal arts education, the experience at their first job reminds them about the fundamental principles of existence taught in the liberal arts college.
Examining the staging process outcomes with loved ones enables patients to cope with the diagnosis and develop a positive perspective towards life that allows them to overcome the different issues affecting their health status. On many occasions, cancer patients experience a series of problems ranging from depression to overwhelming uncertainty regarding their ability to survive the different conditions. In this regard, individuals should align their interests with the recommended treatment regimens and adhere to the guidelines that stipulate their interactions with other people in their surroundings. Liberal arts education sets the stage for meaningful interactions where nursing practitioners can master the art of establishing healthy relations with patients. Institutions such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) are fundamental in realizing desired goals and objectives. The ACS is involved in cancer research and providing emotional and financial support to patients who experience difficulties accessing treatment from different health facilities. Hence, coordinating the efforts directed towards the fight against cancer is essential to realizing positive outcomes in the U.S. and beyond.
Ankeny, J. S., Court, C. M., Hou, S., Li, Q., Song, M., Wu, D., … & Rochefort, M. M. (2016). Circulating tumour cells as a biomarker for diagnosis and staging in pancreatic cancer. British journal of cancer, 114(12), 1367-1375.
Chang, H. M., Moudgil, R., Scarabelli, T., Okwuosa, T. M., & Yeh, E. T. (2017). Cardiovascular complications of cancer therapy: best practices in diagnosis, prevention, and management: part 1. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 70(20), 2536-2551.
Labrague, L. J., McEnroe–Petitte, D. M., Fronda, D. C., & Obeidat, A. A. (2018). Interprofessional simulation in undergraduate nursing program: an integrative review. Nurse education today, 67, 46-55.
Sineshaw, H. M., Ng, K., Flanders, W. D., Brawley, O. W., & Jemal, A. (2018). Factors that contribute to differences in survival of black vs white patients with colorectal cancer. Gastroenterology, 154(4), 906-915.
Smith, R. A., Andrews, K. S., Brooks, D., Fedewa, S. A., Manassaram‐Baptiste, D., Saslow, D., & Wender, R. C. (2019). Cancer screening in the United States, 2019: A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians, 69(3), 184-210.
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