Cancer and its Care Modalities

Cancer and the treatment that is used to deal with the condition often lead to physical symptoms and even side effects. Besides, there are also cases of emotional, social and even financial effect. Therefore, for one to get cancer treatment they need to focus more effort in dealing with the side effects. The treatment of the side effects is called palliative care or supportive care. Palliative care has an important role and is carried out alongside the treatment of cancer. The purpose is to stop, slow down and cure cancer. Recent research has pointed out that palliative care can help in the improvement of the quality of life and help individuals feel more satisfied with the treatment (Tao et al., 2015). One should start the procedure once they realize they have cancer and continue with the therapy as they recover. Palliative care seems to be the most critical care that one can take when suffering from cancer. The essence of palliative care when dealing with cancer is that they do not focus on disease, but they focus on the person as a whole.

Palliative care focuses on several issues of an individual life’s. The physical and the emotional effect of cancer and their treatment often vary from one individual to the other. The focus of the care is to integrate individual specific needs into the care. The following are the issues that would be taken into account.

  • The standard physical symptoms are the pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, vomiting insomnia and shortness of breath.
  • Emotional and coping. The specialists in palliative care aimed at providing resources that would ensure the patient and family deal with the traumatizing emotions that accompany the diagnostic of cancer. In most cases, the family and the patient would experience depression, fear, and anxiety. Through the care, these issues are well addressed and thus the individual can recover fully.
  • The spiritual aspect

When an individual is diagnosed with cancer, they would often try to find a deeper meaning in life. In some cases, the ailment would often make them be much closer to their spiritual beliefs while others would struggle while trying to understand the reason for the illness. An expert would usually have a significant role in trying to make people explore their beliefs and thereby find some sense of peace and even get to the point of accepting the situation (James et al., 2016)

  • Caregiver needs.

The family has a vital role in helping an individual through the recovery and treatment process. In most cases, the changing needs of the caregivers might push them to feel overwhelmed with the need to take care of the patient and the responsibility that it comes with. It often becomes hard for an individual to juggle between the lives demands such as work, caring for the family, house duties and caring for the patients. Palliative care would thus seek to find a way of trying to help the family members navigate this treacherous road (James et al., 2016).

Diagnosis of cancer

When the doctor suspects that an individual has cancer the first thing that they would do is to carry out some preliminary tests such as computed tomography, ultrasonography, and x-rays. The test would only show that there is a tumor in the body and thus there would need to carry out intrusive tests that can confirm the presence of cancer.


One of the tests that can confirm the presence of cancer in the body is a biopsy. The biopsy is when a piece of the tumor is obtained through a surgery and examinations are carried out to confirm the presence of cancer in the cells. In most cases, the sample must be a piece of tissue. However, in some test, the examination of the blood might be enough (James et al., 2016).

Tumor markers

Once it has been identified that there is a presence of cancer in the body the next step is to measure the blood level of the tumor markets. Tumor markers are substance secreted into the bloodstream by certain tumors. These markers might help to provide more evidence of the presence of cancer. In some diseases, the tumor makers are useful in measuring the effectiveness of the treatment (James et al., 2016).

Staging Cancer

Once there has been the identification of cancer in the body, the next stages would involve staging test that would show the location, growth into nearby cells and the spread to other parts of the body. In some cases, people get anxious during this state since they want to get prompt treatment. However, the staging process is essential since it would help to tell the doctor the extent of the problems and the treatment plans that might be appropriate for the condition (Jemal, 2016). The staging of cancer may make use of scanning and other imaging equipment. During the staging process at times it might be essential to use biopsies so that to confirm the location of the tumor. Staging can be based on the clinical or pathological. The clinical stage is one that is based on eh initial biopsy results and physical examination. The psychological or surgical is based on the result of additional biopsies of surgical procedures.

Common complications in cancer

The difficulties that come with cancer treatment often become more severe as the disease progresses in the stages. One of the common complications is the central nervous system that usually affects about 15 to 20% of individuals. The central nervous system remains one of the areas that is often influenced by cancer treatment. The direct effect would often manifest in the development of primary brain and spinal code tumors (Miller et al., 2016) However, in some cases, the impact might be indirect and might include neurological paraneoplastic syndrome. The common complications are the radiation-induced injury to the brain spice and peripheral nerves.

The other complication includes the endocrine abnormalities. In this case, one might suffer from hypercalcemia, inappropriate antidiuretic syndrome or adrenal insufficiency. The exposures to some treatment often affect the endocrine systems and thus result in some of these complications. Finally, there are the hematologic disorders, gastrointestinal, and malignant effusion that might lead to morbidity. Therefore, cancer might affect one part of the body, but with time the effects would spread to the rest of the body and thus result in other complications.

Side effects of cancer treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation around the heart may often result in heart problems. The survivors often report cases of congestive heart failure. The condition might result in shortness in breath, dizziness and swollen hands and feet. In some instances, the individual might experience coronary heart disease. The problem often occurs to individuals that were exposed to high doses of radiation during therapy. Lastly, there is always the risk of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. The other common problems that people tend to encounter as a result of cancer treatment is hypertension (Jemal, 2016).

How to deal with the physical and psychological effects of cancer

Many side effects often accompany the treatment of disease. One such problem is fatigue. First fatigue comes as a result of the method of treatment. For instance, chemotherapy would often result in anemia which means that the body does not have enough blood. The reduced level of blood in the body would eventually lead to fatigue. To deal with fatigue, research has shown that one needs to engage in physical exercises.

There also cases where an individual might experience nausea and vomiting. In most cases dealing with nausea might require one to use several types of mediation. One should often try to get a prescription for the nausea mediation at an early stage than late (Voog et al., 2018). Earlier interventions might often help to deal with the problem more effectively.

Pain is another side effect that one is prone to experience as a result of cancer. In most cases, the doctors would prescribe medication that can help deal with pain during and even after the medication. To deal with pain in a practical way, one should focus on the following

  • Keep a diary of the pain level and the other symptom so that the doctor can tell the cause
  • Use the pain scale in order to communicate to the doctor the level of pain effectively
  • Take prescribed medication regularly
  • In some cases, one is recommended to focus on using physical therapies to deal with pain and discomfort.

As much as cancer might be deadly diseases, taking the necessary precaution might help in dealing with the effects.




James, N. D., Sydes, M. R., Clarke, N. W., Mason, M. D., Dearnaley, D. P., Spears, M. R., … & de Bono, J. (2016). Addition of docetaxel, zoledronic acid, or both to first-line long-term hormone therapy in prostate cancer (STAMPEDE): survival results from an adaptive, multiarm, multistage, platform randomised controlled trial. The Lancet387(10024), 1163-1177.

Miller, K. D., Siegel, R. L., Lin, C. C., Mariotto, A. B., Kramer, J. L., Rowland, J. H., … & Jemal, A. (2016). Cancer treatment and survivorship statistics, 2016. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians66(4), 271-289.

Miller, K. D., Siegel, R. L., Lin, C. C., Mariotto, A. B., Kramer, J. L., Rowland, J. H., … & Jemal, A. (2016). Cancer treatment and survivorship statistics, 2016. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians66(4), 271-289.

Tao, J. J., Visvanathan, K., & Wolff, A. C. (2015). Long term side effects of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with early breast cancer. The Breast24, S149-S153.

Voog, E., Campion, L., Du Rusquec, P., Bourgeois, H., Domont, J., Denis, F., … & Le Du, K. (2018). Totally implantable venous access ports: a prospective long-term study of early and late complications in adult patients with cancer. Supportive Care in Cancer26(1), 81-89.