Cancer diagnosis and staging assessment

Care of Cancer

Melanie was diagnosed with chronic lymphoma in 2010 and had multiple tumors in her body. After her chemo started, her hair began to fall off, but Melanie turned that opportunity into something positive and cut her long hair into a short pixie style. She had a positive attitude towards her treatment and disease and is now working as a fulltime instructor of indoor cycling. Valerie is another cancer survivor who one day got a call from her doctor that her test results showed she had a brain tumor. Her surgery was the next day which left her gutted because it was a surprise for her. Being sick turned out to be positive for her as she started helping people who had weight problems so that she can help them to be healthier. Valerie established Le Boot Camp and despite fighting cancer, she launched her website and started working on her project. As of today, she has more than a million subscribers including Hollywood actors. She advises to project strength and happiness even when a person is sick as it attracts positive energy that helps to fight cancer (Andersen, 2014).Globally over two hundred different types of cancer have been found. The cancers are treated in different ways. Quite a number of cancers are curable; others can be managed by relieving the symptoms utilizing different types of medication and therapies. Quite a number of factors come into play in determining a cancer’s prognosis, including factors such as its early diagnosis and management. However, despite the existence of treatment for different types of cancers, there no single therapy, drug or treatment that is applicable to all forms of cancer (CCSA, n.d.). The main methods for cancer treatment are:

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surgical operations — to excise cancerous tissues

radiotherapy — to destroy cancerous tissues

chemotherapy — use of medication to slow growth or to destroy cancerous tissues

hormone therapy — to control cancer cells which are sensitive to hormones.

These treatment options can be utilized in isolation or in combinations. Cancer affects more than just physical well-being. It can also cause anxiety and depression for the cancer patient in addition to anxiety for family members, thus supportive care may be needed to cater for the spiritual, mental, physical, and social needs that may be brought about by the disease (CCSA, n.d.).

Multidisciplinary Cancer Care

Multidisciplinary care is whereby different healthcare professionals with the relevant skills come together to form a team to offer the patient a comprehensive care and treatment. The team considers the health, physical, social and clinical care needs of the cancer patient and comes up with a team care plan (CCSA, n.d.). Factors that may determine constituents of the care plan include:

type of cancer

health specialists involved in the care

the types of care needed

personal choices

A team approach helps cut time wasted in referring the patient to other specialists. It also helps improve the psychological well-being (CCSA, n.d.).

Describe the diagnosis and staging of cancer

To diagnose cancer, a physician will examine the affected tissue using a microscope. So it is in one’s best interest to quickly go for screening if he or she suspects that he/she has cancer. If upon examination under a microscope the physician thinks the cells might be cancerous, he or she then proceeds to conduct another test, a biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a piece of tissue to determine whether a tumor is present and whether it is benign or malignant (NPAIHB, n.d.). The tissue can be removed through: endoscopy; needle biopsy and surgical biopsy (NPAIHB, n.d.). Once a diagnosis has been confirmed the next phase is known as cancer staging. Cancer staging is the examination of the development and size of the cancerous tissue and its spread to neighboring tissues/organs or distant tissues, so as to describe the severity and spread of the cancer. Cancer staging is important for sharing information among the members of the multidisciplinary healthcare team and also among researchers. Cancer staging is based on the knowledge of how a cancer progresses. However, the problem is that different types of cancers grow and spread in different ways. Fortunately, different types of diagnostic technologies have become available for staging cancers (IPHI, 2013). The stages of cancer are:

Stage I: this is the earliest stage of cancer and in this stage, it hasn’t grown or spread onto adjacent tissues. Neither has it spread to lymph nodes.

Stage II and III: Stages two and three indicate tumors have grown larger than stage I tumors and have spread into neighboring tissues and also to lymph nodes. Despite the spread, the tumors often have not spread to different parts of the body. It is important to note that tumors in stage three are larger than those in stage two.

Stage IV: this stage indicates that the tumor has spread to other body parts. This stage is also described as metastatic or advanced (IPHI, 2013)

Three complications of cancer

Brain and nervous system complications: Cancerous tumors can grow and start pressing on neighboring nerves which could result in pain or loss of function in a body part. Brain cancer can cause stroke-like symptoms and headaches.

Odd immune system reactions to cancer: In certain instances one’s immune system may respond to cancerous cells by fighting healthy cells. This kind of response/reaction is referred to as paraneoplastic syndrome and can cause effects such as seizures and walking difficulties (MayoClinicStaff, 2015)

Nausea: Certaincancers can result in nausea.

Diarrhea: Cancer and Cancer treatment can interfere with normal bowel movements and cause constipation or diarrhea (MayoClinicStaff, 2015).

The side effects of treatment


Exhaustion/fatigue is one of the commonest side effects of cancer treatment. Many patients complain they cannot get over the sense of being tired, regardless of the amount of sleep. It is recommended to talk to a physician if such feeling persists for long (MDACC, 2015)

Cancer Recurrence

All people who formerly had cancer live with a high likelihood that the cancer will recur. Cancer patients may also develop secondary cancers due to the treatments utilized to take care of the original cancer. (MDACC, 2015)

Dental Problems

There is a possibility that chemotherapy can affect the tooth enamel. This can lead to dental problems. High doses of radiation to the upper body can also cause tooth decay, loss or mouth ulcers. (MDACC, 2015)


Some of the steroid medications used to manage certain cancers can increase blood glucose. Although the patients do not usually automatically develop diabetes, they are at a risk since the blood glucose levels usually remain high even after treatment ends (MDACC, 2015)

Chemical changes in your body

Cancer treatment can cause chemical imbalances in the body. The signs and symptoms of such imbalances might include: constipation, urination and excessive thirst (MayoClinicStaff, 2015)

Methods to lessen physical and psychological effects

Various life changes and side effects that come when one is managing cancer through treatment or controlling its symptoms can be hard on individuals not only physically but also psychologically. The way cancer affects one’s physical well-being is similar to the way it can lead to eliciting different kinds of feelings and mental states that one is not used to feeling normatively. Cancer can also make some these new feelings appear more intense (NIH, n.d.)

Express Your Feelings

Studies have shown that expressing feelings such as sadness or depression instead of bottling them up can help in quickly getting over such feelings. Talking to close friends or relatives, counselors, spiritual leaders, support groups or other cancer survivors can also help one to overcome negative feelings. However, if one is not sufficiently socially active, he or she can still sort out his or her feelings by writing them down and visualizing them as being just on paper and then burning the paper, this too is an effective method towards overcoming negative feelings (NIH, n.d.)

Look for the Positive

This means looking for the positive or the bright side of things no matter how negative or dark it may seem. Focusing all energy on positive things and trying to work towards improving physical health can help one to overcome negative attitudes (NIH, n.d.)

You Choose When to Talk about Your Cancer

It can be difficult for you not to talk to friends about their cancer; however, it is also important to note that even though the people they are talking to, mean well, they often do not know how to react to what you are saying. However, if you still feel like talking to them about your cancer, you can make it easier for them to respond by asking them what they feel or what they know (NIH, n.d.)

Find Ways to Help Yourself Relax

One should find an activity maybe a hobby that helps put his or her mind at ease. This can help the individual to relax and take his or her mind off the problems they are having.

Look at What You Can Control

It has been found that putting one’s life in order and incorporating discipline can help with physical and psychological health. Taking charge of one’s own health, forming regular, healthy habits, doing things at the time one has set to do them and removing internal stresses from one’s style are some of the few things individuals can control. Setting up a day-to-day routine can also give one a feeling of control. And even though no individual can manage/control every automatic thought that comes to his or her mind it, not dwelling in the negative thoughts can also help a lot (NIH, n.d.).


Andersen, C. (2014). 4 Inspiring Cancer Survivors Who are Revolutionizing Health. Greatest. Retrieved from:

CCSA. (n.d.). A multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care. Retrieved from Cancer Council:

IPHI. (2013). Cancer Stage at Diagnosis. Sacramento: California Cancer Registry.

MayoClinicStaff. (2015, May 23). Complications. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic:

MDACC. (2015). Possible Side Effects of Cancer Treatment. Retrieved from MD Anderson:

NIH. (n.d.). Feelings and Cancer. Retrieved from

NPAIHB. (n.d.). Cancer Diagnosis and Staging. Retrieved from:

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