Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrollable cell growth and division, which results in the formation of malignant tumors in body parts adjacent to the cells. Finding out what causes cancer is difficult, but research suggests that environmental pollution, microwave radiation, and obesity are all possible causes. It’s critical to detect cancer early on before it progresses to the chronic stage, where it’s irreversible (Jones, 2015). As a result, the therapy and other forms of care may be carried out, halting the disease’s progression. Understanding the prognosis and progression of cancer is critical, particularly when deciding on treatment options. The paper will examine the diagnosis and staging of the cancer. It will describe cancer complications, the side effects of treatment and methods to lessen physical and psychological effects.
Diagnosis of Cancer
Diagnosis of cancer is a process that entails determining the presence of the disease by either observing the symptoms or subjecting a patient to screening tests to determine whether there are tumours. Unfortunately, there is no single device, which physicians can use in the process of diagnosis (Jones, 2015). Therefore, multiple tests are carried out to determine the presence of cancer. It is important to make a timely and accurate diagnosis to provide the finest care and ensure reliable results.
There are various methods through which the process of diagnosis can be done. One of them is biopsy, which entails a surgical procedure of removing a sample of body parts to be analyzed in the laboratory. Through biopsy, the doctor can distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cells (Mayo Clinic, 2017). The process can be done in different ways such as, bone marrow biopsy, which is used to diagnose various blood problems like blood cancer. An endoscopic biopsy entails the use of a tube with a light at its end, which is then inserted into the area that a doctor suspect to be affected. Subsequently, the physician can analyze and determine whether it is implemented. Needle biopsy is used by doctors to extract cells from the suspected area of a patient’s body. It is mostly applied on tumours, which can be felt through the skin (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Apart from biopsy, there is also the use of imaging techniques such as X-rays, computerized axial tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasounds, bone scan and genetic analysis.
Staging of Cancer
Staging of cancer assists in locating cancer, finding out how far it has spread and whether adjacent parts of the body have been affected. The process is only complete when all the tests required have been finished. It is important because it enables doctors to predict chances of survival and recovery, plan treatment including surgery and whether radiation and chemotherapy should be carried out (Jones, 2015). Moreover, staging help predict the chances of the disease coming back after treatment and compare huge populations with a similar diagnosis to attain efficient management of the condition. One of the staging methods used by the doctors is called America Joint Committee on Cancer. It describes the stage at which cancer has reached enabling the doctors to determine how big the original tumour is, how big is the area affected and whether the tumour has extended to the lymph nodes.
The majority of cancer has four stages beginning with stages I to IV, though there are some having phase zero. Stage zero cancers are those still in their original place and have not spread to other parts of the body. At this point, the patient has higher chances of being cured through the removal of the tumour surgically. Stage I cancer entails a tumour that has not yet developed and spread to other parts of the body as well as the lymph nodes. Stages II and III show deeply developed tumours that have rooted themselves in the adjacent tissues but have not yet extended to other sections of the body, though they may have touched the lymph nodes (Jones, 2015). Stage IV means the tumours are advanced and have reached the rest of the body. The step may also be referred to as metastatic or progressed cancer.
Complications of Cancer
Cancer is associated with certain complications, which affect patients. Such include nausea, and vomiting. Those with common cancer experience nausea especially in the last few weeks of life. Fatigue is another complication caused by cancer, and it leads to diminished ability to bear with force thus resulting in a lack of energy and muscular weakness. It also results in a reduced capacity to carry out mental tasks, poor memory and concentration, daytime sleepiness and loss of interest in doing certain activities (Science, 2017). Causes of fatigue in cancer include alteration in skeletal muscle protein deposits as a result of tumor necrosis aspect.
Moreover, weight loss is another common complication given that cancer takes away food from healthy cells hence divesting them nutrient. Cancer is known to cause chemical changes in the body. Such changes include frequent urination, confusion, excessive thirst, and constipation. In addition, the disease can cause brain and nervous system complications (Science, 2017). It presses on nearby nerves and causes pain and paralysis on one part of the patient’s body.
There is also the issue of abnormal immune system responses to cancer. For instance, the body’s immune system may start attacking healthy cells as it tries to fight cancer. The reactions cause paraneoplastic syndrome, which can lead to a variety of signs and symptoms, such as seizures and difficulty to walk. On the other hand, survivors may face a risk of cancer relapse. Different types of cancers are more probable to return than others do.
Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Cancer patients experience side effects as they undergo treatment. Most common are fatigue, pain, and nausea. These effects cause discomfort and at times make it difficult for patients to continue with treatment. Fatigue is as a result of radiation therapy and chemotherapy which may lead to anemia. Nausea and vomiting come from chemotherapy though, the expectations of the patients can also contribute. Other side effects of cancer treatment entail loss of hair as a result of chemotherapy drugs which kill all the dividing cells in the body, therefore, destroying the hair roots (Science, 2017). Hearing loss is as a result of platinum-based chemotherapy or radiation therapy medicines which end up killing receptor hairs in the ears.
A decrease sex drive is witnessed in patients being treated for pelvic cancers or breast and gynecological cancers. Treatment procedures can affect blood vessels, nerves, and hormones, which are responsible for sexual function. Moreover, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and pain can have the same consequences. Skin and nail changes are also standard in the treatment process as the skin becomes dry and red as a result of a reaction on chemotherapy drugs (Science, 2017). The nails can become yellow, black or even crack during treatment.
Methods to Lessen Physical and Psychological Effects
There are several methods of reducing both the physical and psychological effects of cancer. Some include encouraging exercise program during radiation therapy, which can improve signs and symptoms, as well as physical and mental well-being of a patient. Rambling around during the therapy sessions can assist patients in retaining their aptness. However, the exercise should be done under the supervision of a physician to deal with any complications, which may arise (Science, 2017). Besides, patients should exercise relaxation methods.
The methods used may include diaphragm inhalation and guided imagery that help patients think about good memories and uphold a positive attitude. The patients should also be enlightened on how to reduce anxiety by understanding their conditions (Science, 2017). Information on the type of cancer patients have and are meant to alter their lifestyle will help reduce anxiety about the disease hence minimizing the physical and psychological turbulences.
To sum up, cancer is manageable and can be cured if detected at early stages. Diagnosis and staging are essential processes, which help physicians know what treatment is suitable to the patient. Diagnosis is made through biopsy and image scanning, while staging determines what level of cancer has been reached. Cancer has its complications such as nausea, loss of weight, abnormal immune system response and many others. Likewise, the treatments offered may have side effects, just to mention a few, hair loss, fatigue, pain, and nausea. Nevertheless, there are several methods of lessening physical and psychological effects. They include doing exercises, diaphragm inhalation and reduction of anxiety by having a positive attitude.

Mayo Clinic (2017). Biopsy: Types of biopsy procedures used to diagnose cancer. Retrieved on July 10, 2017 from
Jones, K. (2015). Cancer sourcebook: Basic Consumer health information about major forms and stages of cancer. Detroit, Michigan.
Science, L. (2017). 7 Side effects of cancer treatment, and how to cope with them. Live Science. Retrieved on July 10, 2017 from

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