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Cancer, Radiation Treatment, Chemotherapy, and Hospice

I dedicate this medical journey for anyone to have to ponder the sole decision when faced with the diagnosis of cancer and what is the best course of treatment plan, regarding such a prolific journey and what methods to heed when subjugation the body to its path to reach remission, eradicate cancerous cells, to prolong life, to decrease the metastasis, or to assure the essence of quality acceptance when in the terminal stages.  

As an Interim Director of Nursing for a private funded Jewish Senior Assisting Living and Rehabilitation Center, my primary duties are to oversee a vast population of its geriatric patients or terminal residents. In compliance with my staff of nurses and physicians. Moreover, a practicing licensed APRN for Mental Health in the state if New York.  
 
And what I encounter the most for family members is, could they have done anything different to have deter the life of their loved one, friends, or simply an acquaintance. Before I really give you my medically view, we must come to an understanding of just what is cancer.  
 
Cancer (Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer often could spread throughout your body.  
 
Cancer tends to be the second-leading cause of death in the world. But survival rates are improving for many types of cancer, thanks to improvements in cancer screening, various treatment plan, and prevention.  
 
Cancer is primarily caused by changes, a better word, mutations to the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell is bundled into many individual genes, each of which contains a set of commands telling the cell what functions to perform, as well as how to grow and divide.  
 
The body is fascinating and can function when not under stress, under illness, or complied with drugs or alcohol. In a pure stare it can heal itself, let me clarify that, I am speaking about non-sub dermal trauma, such as cut, scraps, or light abrasions. It can regenerate new cells and circulate blood flow through the chambers if the heart, lungs, rid our body of toxins through or filtration system (the kidneys) it releases the hormones insulin and glucagon to regulate blood sugar levels utilizing our pancreas… we are all born with such fascination organs, tissue, ligaments, bones, and muscles.  
 
What happens when the fundamental of our daily lives are turned to a fight battle form within, our internal breeding ground of healthiness has been comprised with the words, “you have cancer” after a biopsy of a malignant diagnoses has been proven.  
 
From that point on the mind has many questions, to ponder; a treatment plan, was it caught in time to begin the measure of treatment, what is the initial stage the cancer is in, has it progressed, metastasized to other organs, evade tissues or bones, and can or will I get through this unplanned ordeal.  
 
To be diagnosed with cancer in the new millennium does not hold the same death sentence as of old when the medical communities were still trying to allocate less invasive treatments, while enlisting the most common forms of treatments, chemo, radiation, or surgically removing its hindrance.  
 
Scientists’ perfecting their FDA equations to approve various medication that can deter such an unplanned fate of existence.  
 
Take those components into consideration and I will outline some notations for anyone who knows of someone, or who is living with cancer themselves.  
 
The Major Components To Diagnose Cancer Is From Various Sources  
 
The first advice for anyone is to have a health check yearly with fasting blood work, a bimanual or diagnostic breast exam, Pap Smear for woman for men, a prostate exam, and if you are of age, a colorectal screening.  
 And I strongly urge African Americans to definitely get these exams, various cancers tend to affect us more than other races. Do to some economic or social hindrances, or a lack of maintaining our health as number one priority to our wellbeing  
 
Blood work can advise your physician or nurse Practitioner, and in lieu of certain types of cancers, if, by heredity, you are susceptible to cancer or can become predisposed.  
 
During a physical exam, your doctor may look for any abnormalities, such as changes in skin color or enlargement of an organ, that may indicate the presence of cancer.  
 
Most physicians would order a complete blood work up, such as urine and blood tests, which in part may help your doctor identify abnormalities that can be caused by cancer. For instance, in people with leukemia, a common blood test called complete blood count (CBC) may reveal an unusual number or type of white blood cells.  
 
Then you have some imaging tests, these ordered test will allow your doctor to examine your bones and internal organs in a noninvasive way. Imaging tests used in diagnosing cancer may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound and X-ray, among others.  
 
The most feared testing that no one wants to here if you need any biopsied and send to pathology.  
 
During a biopsy, your doctor collects a sample of cells for testing in the laboratory. There are several ways of collecting a sample. Which biopsy procedure is right for you depends on your type of cancer and its location. In most situations, a biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose cancer, a sure prognosis to see if the cancer is benign (not becoming cancerous a benign lung tumor) or malignant (the term literally means growing worse and resisting treatment).  
   
In the laboratory, a pathologist will look at cell samples under the microscope. Normal cells look uniform, with similar sizes and organization. Cancer cells look less orderly, with varying sizes and without apparent organization, Moreso, erratic in its premature course.  
 
The Cancer Diagnosis
 
 
Once cancer is unfortunately diagnosed, your doctor would most likely refer you to see a specialist, as he/she will still continue to manage your primary care.  
 
Oncologist (Medical Oncologists treat cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapies, biological therapies, and other targeted treatments).  
 
Hematologist (Is a doctor who specializes in researching, diagnosing, treating, and preventing blood disorders and disorders of the lymphatic system (lymph nodes and vessels) will work to determine the extent (stage) of your cancer. Your doctor uses your cancer's stage to determine your treatment options and your chances for a cure.  
 
These specialists will determine staging tests and procedures, which may include imaging tests, such as bone scans or even X-rays, to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.  
 
The stages of cancer are indicated by the numbers one through four, which are often written as Roman numerals 0 through IV. It saddens me because higher numbers indicate a more-advanced cancer. In addition, some cancer advances faster than other.  
   
The Three Most Common Cancers In Men, Women, And Children In The U.S.  
 
Men: Prostate, lung, and colorectal  
Women: Breast, lung, and colorectal  
Children: Leukemia, brain tumors, and lymphoma  
 
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers in existence. It kills quickly and causes multiple painful and dangerous symptoms including stomach pain, biliary obstruction, bleeding, ascites, and so much more.  
 
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest one-year survival rate in men (23.7 per cent) and women (25.3 per cent) and for five-year survival in both men (6.4 per cent) and women (7.5 per cent). Generally, those who are diagnosed at an earlier stage have a better chance of survival.  
 
Those are some very staggering and discouraging statistics, if I am allowed to mention.  
 
As cancers go, glioblastoma is one of the worst types you can be diagnosed with.  
 
What Is The Fastest Cancer To Kill You  
 
Probably about the fastest is a type of lung cancer called small cell lung carcinoma where, untreated, death is usual in weeks, in addition, acute leukemia, untreated, can kill in days, although weeks is probably more likely. With treatment, I would have to agree with the statistics that both pancreas and brain (glioblastoma multiforme) have horrible prognoses, and a grim reminder for anyone who’ve watch their loved one suffer under the such a fate  
 
Various Way To Combat Cancer  
 
Surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancer or as much of the cancer as possible.  
 
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.  
 
Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation treatment can come from a machine outside your body (external beam radiation), or it can be placed inside your body (brachytherapy).  
 
Bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow transplant is also known as a stem cell transplant. Your bone marrow is the material inside your bones that makes blood cells.  
 
A bone marrow transplant can use your own cells or cells from a donor.  
Beside Bone Marrow transplant most doctors are researching how stem cells can add in fighting some cancers s from progressing.  
 
That is why I strongly advocate a childbearing women who have just given birth to keep the placenta, it is a mecca that holds stem cells and can be refrigerated or frozen. Most hospitals use placenta stem cells in various research.  
   
A groundbreaking study conducted by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the first to reveal a new avenue for harvesting stem cells from a woman's placenta, or more specifically the discarded placentas of healthy newborns. The study also finds there are far more stem cells in placentas than in umbilical cord blood, and they can be safely extracted for transplantation.  
 
Furthermore, it is highly likely that placental stem cells, like umbilical cord blood and bone marrow stem cells, can be used to cure chronic blood-related disorders such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and leukemia.  
 
A bone marrow transplant allows your doctor to use higher doses of chemotherapy to treat your cancer. It may also be used to replace diseased bone marrow.  
 
Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, uses your body's immune system to fight cancer. Cancer can survive unchecked in your body because your immune system doesn't recognize it as an intruder. Immunotherapy can help your immune system.  
 
Hormone therapy. Some types of cancer are fueled by your body's hormones. Examples include breast cancer and prostate cancer. Removing those hormones from the body or blocking their effects may cause the cancer cells to stop growing.  
 
Targeted drug therapy. Targeted drug treatment focuses on specific abnormalities within cancer cells that allow them to survive.  
 
Clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies to investigate new ways of treating cancer. Thousands of cancer clinical trials are underway.  
 
This brings me to my medical journey question, regarding chemotherapy or radiation, which would be beneficial, and why  
 
What Is Chemotherapy  
 
One of the oldest treatments for cancer is chemotherapy, in which drugs are given through an intravenous (IV) injection or orally. Chemotherapy can have effects system-wide, which means it impacts your whole body.  
 
The goal of chemotherapy is to kill the cancer cells, shrink the tumor, or destroy the tumor. Destroying the tumor can eliminate cancer, while shrinking it can relieve some symptoms if the tumor is causing pain or interfering with other tissues.  
 
I would go on record to say, chemotherapy should not be recommended when the potential risks outweigh the benefits. And that is only because of chemotherapy’s considerable side effects, it may not be safe for individuals who have underlying conditions.  
 
The healthy cells that are most likely to be damaged by chemotherapy are located in the bone marrow, hair follicles, mouth, digestive tract, and reproductive system.  
 
Just take under advisement the cells in these areas of the body also grow quickly and are thus targeted by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may also damage cells in the heart, lungs, kidneys, bladder, and nervous system.  
 
What Is Radiation  
 
Radiation is a high-energy invisible light wave. Because it has a lot of energy, it can be directed at cancer cells to damage their genetic material, ultimately killing them.  
The radiation waves damage the cancer cells, which die over time and are removed by the body, causing the tumor to shrink. This process can continue for weeks or even months after treatment is over.  
 
Radiation is used in many ways as a cancer treatment. The goal of radiation is usually to slow the growth of, shrink, or destroy a cancerous tumor.  
 
I would say any treatment for cancer would always be beneficial to getting to the next phrase of recovering to hear the cancer cells have been destroyed and the cancer is in remission. I am supporter and contributor to of Susan Korman Foundation, and a marathon runner to raise funds, in addition, an active supporter St. Jude Children's Research Hospital  
 
When Hospice Is The Last Decision To Take Into Advisement
 
 
Hospice care is mainly utilized when a disease, such as the advanced stage of cancer, gets to the point when treatment can no longer cure or control it. In general, hospice care should be used when a person is expected to live about six months or less if the illness runs its usual course.  
 
People with advanced cancer should have a discussion with their family members and doctor to decide together when hospice care should begin.  
 
The decision to place a loved one in hospice is never an easy choice. Most people facing such a final solution for self or for a loved one is never easy. However, the hospice/palliative care given is superior and it should involve family memories, doctors, and continuing nursing care throughout.  
 
Also take into consideration, hospice care can be rendered to a person receiving supportive care at home.  
 
Hospice care is offered and provided for patients during their last phase of an incurable illness or near the end of life, such as in some people with advanced or metastatic cancer. Hospice care is provided when there is no active or curative treatment being given for the serious illness. “treatment” during hospice care involves managing symptoms and side effects.  
 
Palliative care can be offered and provided at any stage of a serious illness. Palliative care can be provided while the patient is receiving active treatment. In other words, it can be given at the same time as chemo, radiation, or immunotherapy for cancer.  
 
There are several ways to deal with cancer and its treatment, some people have opted to go strictly holistic.  
 
Integrative & Holistic Cancer Treatment Strategies  
 
Starve The Cancer  
Cancer feeds on sugar. Starve the cancer cell of sugar by withdrawing the source of food, starting with the diet.  
Special anti-cancer diet  
Scientific evidence from PET scans shows most cancer cells take more sugar (glucose) than normal tissue  
 
Destroy The Cancer
 
Treatment is customized for each patient. Kill the cancer cells by either natural or therapeutic means such as oxygen and oxidative therapies, IV therapies and support elimination of toxic debris.  
NIHA physicians will actively coordinate its services with a patient’s oncologist and other treating physicians to ensure patients have an active team supporting their care.  
 
Detoxify The Body
 
Cancer developed over time under the stress of accumulated toxins. Detoxification is essential for successful cancer treatment.  
Laboratory testing to evaluate chemical or environmental toxicities  
Detecting and eliminating food and environmental allergies  
Restoring natural flora to the bowel  
A comprehensive whole body detoxification program in order for other therapies to work  
 
No matter what treatment plan of care when it pertains to cancer, make sure you have the best physicians, to keep you on the road of recovering, those elements consist of giving you a referral/prescription for any medical aids, needed; walking cane, walker, bathtub bench, a hospital bed for home, and, vouchers to get you to and from your doctor’s appointments if you are devoid of transportation, then the social services if needed (to assist with paying for medication(s), shelter if needed, clothing) And a referral to a Licensed Nutritionist to make sure your eating healthy during cancer and how to maintenance that sacrifice during remission.  
 
And that is a medical summary in celebration of Nurse Week.  
 
Stay blessed and be kind in your daily forwarding steps. Make sure you smile as you give of your heart, you just might me entertaining an Angel.  
 
SKC, interim DON, APRN  
 
 
 
Cited (SKC-05/08/22)  
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623091119.htm  
https://www.nihadc.com/health-programs/cancer-support.html  
 
 
 
SweetKittyCat5
Written by SweetKittyCat5
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Author's Note
Happy Mother's Day to all the nourishing biological mothers, adoptive mothers, and foster mothers... and all DUP, mothers in general

SKC
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