Nursing Process: Approach to Care Essay

Nursing Process: Approach to Care

Cancer is one of the major causes of mortality in US and across the world in present
times. Diagnosing and treating cancer takes several steps and inter-professional collaboration
between different healthcare practitioners. Nurses have a huge role to play in diagnosing and
managing of symptoms and the treatment of cancer patients. This paper explores the role of
nurses in these processes.

Diagnosing and Staging of Cancer

Cancer will cause different symptoms in patients with most of these symptoms resulting
from the tumors and other problems that may be caused by cancerous cells. The process of
diagnosing cancer in a patient begins with questions to the patients to determine their personal
and family medical history. The cancer diagnosis process is then followed by the physical
examination of the patient. The examining physician may then order imaging tests, laboratory
tests, and other procedures to determine if their patients are suffering from cancer. In many
instances, physicians may order a biopsy, which is mostly the only way in which one can tell if
certain patients are suffering from cancer (Brierley, Gospodarowicz, & O’Sullivan, 2016).
Laboratory tests will be used to determine the levels of certain substances in a patient’s body,
which can indicate if such patients will have cancer or not. Laboratory tests to screen cancer will
generally include blood and urine tests. Blood tests will test the patient’s blood for tumor
markers or some blood tissues. Tumor markers are chemicals that will be produced in cancer
cells or by healthy body cells in response to cancer. Tumor markers include circulating tumor
markers and tumor tissue markers (Brierley et al., 2016). Circulating tumor markers are therefore
found in urine, blood, stool, and other body fluids in cancer patients. Laboratory tests of such
fluids will help in cancer diagnosis. Imaging tests are also quite effective in cancer diagnosis.


Imaging tests will help create pictures of different areas in a patient and help physicians to make
clear observations of any tumors and eventually make a cancer diagnosis. Different imaging tests
that are used to diagnose cancer include CT scan, MRI, Nuclear scan, Bone scan, PET scan,
Ultrasound, and X- rays (Tsai, Kung, Wang, Kuo, & Li, 2018). In some instances, a doctor will
need to do a biopsy so as to diagnose cancer. A biopsy will involve the removal of sample tissues
from patients. This tissue is then reviewed by pathologists so as to make a determination of it has
cancer. The pathologist will then provide his findings in a pathologist report, which will provide
details on the diagnosis. Pathology reports will play a vital role in the diagnosis and the treatment
of cancer. To diagnose cancer, the doctors may obtain the biopsy sample through numerous
methods, including the use of needles to withdraw fluid or tissues, for example, in cases of bone
marrow, breast, and prostate cancer diagnosis. A biopsy may also be performed through the uses
of endoscopy, which entails the removal of some tissues from the elementary canal or through
surgery (Brierley et al., 2016).

After the biopsy and other tests have shown that given patients have cancer, the doctor
may eventually perform some tests to help in the planning of their treatment. Such tests including
the figuring out of which stage patients cancer may be in which is referred to as staging. The
stage of cancer refers to how far their cancer has spread or its extent (Tsai, Kung, et al., 2018).
Knowing the stage of patients’ cancer helps doctors to understand patient’s chances of survival
for their cancer, plan their most effective treatment and come up with clinical trials that may be
the ideal treatment options for given patients. Cancer affecting patients will always be referred to
by its initial stage of diagnosis, even when cancer spreads or gets worse. In such a scenario, new
information relating to cancer is only added to the original stage (Brierley et al., 2016). There are
many staging systems for cancer with the staging systems including information of the location of the tumor, size of the tumor, cell type of the tumor., whether cancer spreads to lymph nodes
whether cancer has spread across the body, and the tumor grade which refers to the likeliness of
the tumor to spread and how abnormal the cells may look. One of the most common systems of
staging cancer is the TNM system. In the TNM system, T refers to the extent and size of the
main tumor, also referred to as the primary tumor. The N will refer to the close number of lymph
nodes that might have cancer, while M refers to whether cancer will have metastasized. This will
describe if the cancers will have spread from the initial area of origin to other body parts
(Saadatmand, Bretveld, Siesling, & Tilanus-Linthorst, 2015). The description of cancer with the
TNM system is also accompanied by numbers after each letter, for instance, T1NOMX.

The numbers and letters explain the extent of cancer in relation to whether the tumor can be
measured, regional lymph nodes are affected, and whether metastasis has occurred. In most cases
of cancer, the nurses or physicians will group the TNM combinations into five stages. These
include Stage 0. In this stage, the patients may have abnormal cells that might not have spread to
any nearby tissues. This commonly referred to as Carcinoma in Situ (CIS).

Though not seen as cancer, this stage may develop cancer. The next stages of cancer include Stage I, II, and III. In
these stages, cancer will be present. The stage will signify the size of the cancer tumor and the
extent of spread to nearby tissues. Stage IV is the final stage of cancer, which is characterized by
the spread of cancer to distant body parts (Saadatmand et al., 2015).
Cancer Complications, Treatment Side Effects, and Ways of Lessening Physical and

Psychological Effects

Cancer will cause numerous complications on patients, which will affect their quality of
life and even cause physical,………

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