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General Information

 Definitions
 cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells

divide without control and are able to invade other tissues
 cancer types

 lymphoma and myeloma: cancers that begin in the
cells of the immune system

 carcinoma: cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues
that line or cover internal organs

 leukemia: cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue,
e.g., bone marrow, and causes large numbers of
abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the

 sarcoma: cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat,
muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or
supportive tissue

 central nervous system cancers: cancers that begin in
the tissues of the brain and spinal cord

 types of tumors
 benign: refers to a tumor or growth that is not

 malignant: the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in

the body, i.e., cancerous cells, which are spread
through metastasis

 metastatic cancer: cancer that has spread from the place
where it first started (primary site or site of origin) to another
place in the body (the secondary site)

 almost any cancer can form metastatic tumors
 most common sites of cancer metastasis: lungs,

bones, liver

Read the World Health Organization's Cancer Fact Sheet for
information about the impact of cancer worldwide.

5. staging: describes and classifies extent or spread of malignancy (most, but not all,
cancers are staged this way)


Extent of Malignancy

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 bronchoscopy
 biopsy

3. Management
o nonsurgical

 adjuvant therapy: chemotherapy and radiation therapy

 biological therapies, including monoclonal antibodies (especially
angiogenesis inhibitors), interferons, interleukins, colony-stimulating factors,
vaccines, gene therapy and nonspecific immunomodulating agents

 laser therapy to de-bulk tumor
 thoracentesis and pleurodesis

o surgical: thoracotomy
 wedge resection - part of a lobe
 segmental resection- part of a lobe
 lobectomy - one or more lobes
 pneumonectomy - entire right or left lung

4. Nursing interventions - see Oncology Overview for more specifics

o maintain chest drainage system
o provide routine post operative care

 monitor respiratory status frequently
 teach effective deep breathing and cough techniques
 refer to physical therapy for exercises for shoulder on affected side
 relieve pain

o optimize oxygenation
o provide opportunities for the client to talk about cancer; as needed, refer to support

o teach information as based on treatment plan and prognosis
o optimize nutritional status


Health care professionals and clients can access comprehensive
educational materials on cancer and chemotherapy at Medline Plus.

5. Neurological System Oncology
o Brain Tumors

 Definition: growth of tissue within skull
 may be cancerous or benign
 classified according to tissue type
 may be primary or metastatic

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 flutamide (Eulexin) - blocks the effect of testosterone
 drugs are often used in combination therapy

4. nursing interventions - see Oncology Overview for more specifics
o assess

 presence of urinary urgency, hesitancy, dribbling, retention, nocturia,
infection, hematuria

 presence of palpable lymph nodes
 presence of flank pain, weight loss, rectal pain
 presence of bladder distention

o control pain to acceptable levels
o reduce anxiety in clients and family members by referrals
o discuss potential changes re: sexual functioning, energy levels

5. complications
o of the cancer - bone metastases
o of hormone manipulation

 nausea and vomiting
 gynecomastia
 sexual dysfunction
 hot flashes

UsTOO International is a prostate cancer support group whose goal is
to increase awareness about the disease.

Points to Remember

Clients undergoing chemotherapy should avoid crowds and persons with infections
and to report signs of infection.

Radiation has local effects related to site irradiated; chemotherapy is more systemic.
Biological therapies (interferons, interleukins, colony-stimulating factors, monoclonal

antibodies, vaccines, gene therapy, and nonspecific immunomodulating agents) use
the body's immune system to fight cancer or to lessen the side effects that may be
caused by some cancer treatments.

Although clients receiving internal radiation are not radioactive, the implant or
injection is radioactive; treat waste products and body fluids as radioactive.

Although clients with cancer may experience pain at any time during their disease,
pain is usually a late symptom of cancer.

Be sure to test client for tuberculosis (TB) before cancer treatment using monoclonal
antibodies, especially infliximab (Remicade), since they will allow TB to fulminate.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and the leading cause of death
from skin disease.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women
(exception - the leading cause of cancer deaths in Hispanic women is breast cancer).

Most Pancreatic cancer has a very poor prognosis since it's often advanced when
first discovered.

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