Approach to Care

Sample Question on Approach to Care


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.

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Sample Essay on Approach to Care

Aproach to Care


Institutional Affiliation

Approach to Care

The approach to caring for cancer victims can either advance or reduce their quality of life. Cancer is primarily typified by an abnormal or an uncontrolled growth and division of cells. Eventually, the tumors, mostly the malignant ones, can spread to different body parts. Others like the benign ones do not spread to other cells since they are non-cancerous. This is where the diagnosis and staging of cancer becomes relevant. Due to the life-threatening nature of cancer, oncologists usually recommend immediate treatment. This results in side effects which lead to a broad range of psychological and physical outcomes which could possibly demoralize cancer patients in their recovery efforts. This paper examines the staging and diagnosis of cancer, four complications of cancer, treatment and side effect burden, and the mechanisms for minimizing the psychological and physical effects of cancer treatment.

Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer

There are several variants of cancer which have dissimilar symptoms. This means that it is impractical to decide on which type of cancer a patient might be suffering from without running elaborate laboratory and physical examinations as well as other procedures. Diagnosis of cancer, according to de W Marsh et al. (2012), denotes the surgical removal of the sample of an affected tissue to determine whether a tumor is malignant or benign. This involves a biopsy, or several biopsies, whereby an oncologist carries out microscopic examinations following an earlier indication of the warning signals of cancer. Varghese et al. (2013) explained four tissues removal techniques for cancer biopsy. These are excisional biopsy, endoscopy, needle biopsy, and incisional biopsy. In excisional biopsy, the oncologist removes the entire suspected tumor. In endoscopy, the cancer specialist utilizes a thin lighted tube to observe what is happening in the tumor. In incisional biopsy, the oncologist removes a section of the tumor for the biopsy. Finally, in needle biopsy, a minute tissue sample is taken from the suspected cancer lump through slowly inserting the needle.

Staging of cancer refers to the scientific process of evaluating the extent of cancerous growths in a patient’s body.  This encompasses establishing the tumor sizes and the specific places the cancer is located. While cancer diagnosis relies on biopsies, staging is done through computed tomography (CT) scans, special surgery, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and blood tests.  de W Marsh (2012) revealed that cancer staging is indispensable in establishing the scale to which the patient will respond to particular modes of treatment. Varghese (2013) discussed four major cancer stages. Firstly, is the in situ stage; whereby, the malignancy has not yet spread to the neighboring tissues. Next, is the local stage; whereby, the cancer is only existent in the organ. The localized and in situ stages are relatively easy to cure. Thirdly, is the regional stage; whereby, the malignant growth has spread to the lymph nodes. Finally, is the distant stage; whereby, the malignancy has multiplied to other organs. At this phase, the cancer is extensive and the damages are far-reaching. In another study, Chu and DeVita (2015) concurred with the above argument through explaining that the metastasis of cancer can be described through four stages; that is, stages one, two, three, and four. According to Chu and DeVita (2015), stage one is the earliest while stage four is the most sophisticated due the scale to which the malignancy has extended to other body systems. The proposition by de W Marsh (2012) implies that when the physician understands the stage of the patient’s cancer, they can effectively advise the client on the strategic ways of coping with their predicament; thereby, making the patient to feel more in control.

Complications of Cancer

Cancer brings about several complications before and during treatment. Chambers and Mansi (2017) noted that cancer complications significantly depend on the stage of the malignant growth as well as the patient’s overall health. Firstly, is pain. When the cancer grows, it spreads progressively to the neighboring healthy tissues. As a result, the tumor causes neuropathic, visceral, and somatic pains (Lee, Arrillaga-Romany & Wen, 2012). To minimize these three variants of pain which result from damaged central nervous systems, organ tissues, bones, and muscles cancer specialists habitually pinpoint the specific source and point of pain before recommending any drug. Medications used to treat pains attributable to cancerous tumors include nonsteroidal drugs like oxycodone and codeine and opioids such as morphine (Chambers and Mansi, 2017). The dosages depend on the patient’s age, health status, and stage of cancer. The second complication is metastasis. This entails the multiplication of cancer cells in the patient’s lymphatic blood system. To others, this occurs in their bloodstream which ends up compromising key organs like the brain and liver (Lee, Arrillaga-Romany & Wen, 2012). This complication, although challenging, is treated through surgery. Thirdly, is major depression. This emotional complication is attributable to the grief that befalls cancer patients based on the severity associated with cancer. To treat this cancer complication, antidepressants are used. Also, healthcare experts use support group therapy as a means of minimizing the chances of those diagnosed with cancer becoming overly depressed. Fourthly, is weight loss. This happens due impact of the malignant growths which deprive healthy cells of crucial nutrients. To treat this, physicians usually place the patient on artificial nutrition which is done through insertion of tubes for passing nutrients into the patient’s tissues.

Side Effects of Treatment

            Just like other ailments, cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, depending on the patient’s stage and cancer type, have various side effects. In most patients, these include appetite loss, nausea, delirium, constipation, thrombocytopenia, and vomiting (Du, Cullen & Buettner, 2012). Other patients experience fatigue which fails to fade away even after the patient rests adequately. Cancer treatments also cause low libido which limits their ability to become intimate with their partners. Chu & DeVita Jr (2015) observed that for women who are under cervical cancer treatment, they are likely to experience early menopause as the most severe side effect of either radiotherapy or chemotherapy targeting the pelvic area.

Recommendations for Addressing the Psychological Effects of Care

            Based on perceived life-threatening cancer especially during its advanced stages, patients battling cancer are prone to psychological distress. The psychosomatic effects of cancer could begin from the diagnosis stage and continue through to the treatment phase. In their study, de W Marsh et al. (2012) attributed the psychological effects of care to the incessant worries of the recurrence of the tumors during the post-treatment phase. The first mechanism for lessening the emotional effects of cancer is of seeking professional personalized counseling services. This is imperative to dispelling anxiety, anger, and shock. The second method is that of support group therapy. This technique is instrumental in eliminating feelings of helplessness among cancer victims irrespective of the stage of the malignancy. Stress Management interventions are also indispensable in convincing the patient that cancer is a manageable condition.

Recommendations for Addressing the Physiological Effects of Care

Cancer care might result in unfavorable physical outcomes such as upsets in the normal chemical balance in the body.  This could make the patients to experience constipation and excessive thirst. To lessen such physiological outcomes, it is important that cancer patients settle on healthy lifestyle choices. This includes eating foods such as radish (Goyeneche, Roura, Ponce, Vega-Gálvez, Quispe-Fuentes, Uribe & Di Scala, 2015) and green leafy vegetables that are known to kills cancerous cells in the background. Again, having adequate time for physical exercise is essential in managing cancer especially from stage two of cancer staging. The magnitude of aerobic physical exercises for cancer patients depend substantially on their overall health status. From an analytical standpoint, abovementioned recommendations could go a long way in augmenting the mechanisms for reducing the psychological effects of cancer.


This exposition has accentuated that the various forms of cancer have different side effect burdens once the diagnosis and staging phases are done. These are relatable to the complications which arise from the malignant growths. From a critical perspective, oncologists and other cancer specialists need to utilize a personalized approach to addressing the needs of cancer patients. This is vital in lessening the psychological effects of cancer staging and treatment. Right from the biopsies to the administration of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the approach to care of cancer should be one that is inclined toward systematic forms of intervention. This paper forms a useful basis for oncology practitioners to devise the means of improving the current evidence-based interventions to cancer treatment.


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Guide to the Management of Medical Emergencies, 5th Edition, 605-611.

Chu, E., & DeVita Jr, V. T. (2015). Physicians’ Cancer Chemotherapy Drug Manual 2016. Jones

& Bartlett Publishers.

de W Marsh, R., Alonzo, M., Bajaj, S., Baker, M., Elton, E., Farrell, T. A., … & Shaikh, A.

(2012). Comprehensive review of the diagnosis and treatment of biliary tract cancer 2012. PART I: Diagnosis‐clinical staging and pathology. Journal of surgical oncology3(106), 332-338.

Du, J., Cullen, J. J., & Buettner, G. R. (2012). Ascorbic acid: chemistry, biology and the

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Goyeneche, R., Roura, S., Ponce, A., Vega-Gálvez, A., Quispe-Fuentes, I., Uribe, E., & Di

Scala, K. (2015). Chemical characterization and antioxidant capacity of red radish (Raphanus sativus L.) leaves and roots. Journal of Functional Foods16, 256-264.

Lee, E. Q., Arrillaga-Romany, I. C., & Wen, P. Y. (2012). Neurologic complications of cancer

drug therapies. CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology18(2, Neuro-onco

Varghese, T. K., Hofstetter, W. L., Rizk, N. P., Low, D. E., Darling, G. E., Watson, T. J., … &

Krasna, M. J. (2013). The society of thoracic surgeons guidelines on the diagnosis and staging of patients with esophageal cancer. The Annals of thoracic surgery96(1), 346-356.


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