Discuss on complications most common, prognosis outcome and CNA care………
This is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Bates (2012) reported that it is the biggest cancer killer in the U.K. The peak occurrence of lung cancer is at age 70-79 for both men and women. The incidence rates of lung cancer vary correlating with habits of smoking cigarettes prevalent prior to 10 years at most (Yong Yao, 2005) The primary cause of this disease is long time cigarette smoking (>85%) (PubMed Heath, 2011) followed closely by alcohol consumption. Second chain smokers can also be affected with the disease since they come into contact with most of the smoke exhaled by smokers. The people who are mostly affected are elderly men and women due to long-term smoking. There are risk factors that may increase a people’s chances of developing this disease and these include; effects of past cancer treatment, exposure to asbestos, radon gas and genetic risks (PubMed Health, 2011). In developing countries, cooking using stoves and fire has been associated with increase of cancer risk (Yong Yao, 2005)
The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the duration of tobacco smoking and also the number of cigarettes smoked. There are two types of cancers i.e. the non small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer and they are diagnosed depending on how the cells are seen under a microscope (National Cancer Institute, 2012). Non-small cell lung cancer is a term used for a group of cancers originating from the lung. It includes adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma (Bryan Jared, n.d.).
Non-small cell lung cancer accounts to over 80% of all lung cancer thus it is the most dangerous of all cancers manifesting itself in histology, prognosis, pathogenesis and it responds to treatments that are manufactured against lung cancer(WebMD Medical, 2010).
Lung cancer complications are known to cause a variety of problems that include breathing and heart problems. Recurrent infections e.g. pneumonia are known to occur due to complications related to lung cancer. Lung cancer is classified in stages that are determined by the size of the cancer and how far it has spread within the lung, to nearby tissues, or to other organs” (WebMD Medical, August 26, 2010)
The most common complications caused by lung cancer include shortness of breath if cancer grows and blocks the airways. Shortness of breath can also be caused by accumulation of fluid around the lungs thus lungs cannot fully expand when one is breathing in. In the airway, blood can be formed by lung cancer thus when coughing one coughs out blood. This is called hemoptysis which may become severe.
Lung cancer can advance and spread to the lining of the lung or to other areas of the body like the bones therefore causing pain. If no treatment is given within a certain period of time, lung cancer can spread to other parts of the body most commonly the brain, bones, liver and adrenal glands. This spreading cancer (metastasis) causes pain, nausea, headache and other minor symptoms. Fluid can also accumulate in the pleural space due to lung cancer and this is called pleural effusion which in turn causes shortness of breath (PubMed Health, 2011). There are treatments that drain the fluid from the chest.
Death is the final complication that occurs due to lung cancer and sadly very few people survive after being diagnosed with cancer. Usually the result of the disease is fatal but if diagnosed earlier, survival rates are high. These problems caused by lung cancer can be treated by various types of treatment including radiation therapy, medications and chemotherapy.
Prognosis refers to the chance that it can be cured or that life can be prolonged. Lung cancer is diagnosed when it advances to the metastatic stage and adenocarcinoma( a type of non small lung cancer) being the most frequent histologic type(WebMD Medical, 2010) . Early diagnosis of lung cancer before it spreads to other organs like the lymph nodes significantly increase the survival rates of patients by at least 5% before it reaches the advanced stage (PubMed Health, 2011). However there are many factors affecting the early diagnosis which include the variable natural growth of tumors in addition to technology and human factors which include manipulation of tissue samples and interpretation of results.
The prognosis and survival rate is poorest for adenocarcinoma as compared to other types of lung cancer (Conrad, 1996). A person’s chances of being cured depend on the type of lung cancer that has developed the stage where the tumor is and the spread. Genetic mutations are associated with adenocarcinoma and tend to give a poor prognosis. It has poor prognosis at any stage as compared to squamous-cell carcinoma. Earlier diagnosed tumors at stage one are provide the best prognosis therefore chance for cure. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) grows the most aggressively of all lung cancers but most responsive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy (WebMD Medical, 2010).
In non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the extent of the cancer spread is the most important prognostic factor at the time of diagnosis. Radiation therapy cures a small group of patients with NSCLC leading to relief of symptoms. Chemotherapy offers some improvements in survival (WebMD Medical, 2010). The prognosis for lung cancer patients is poor in comparison to other cancers such as breast cancer, cervical cancer and so fourth. The survival cases are lower than those of other cancers (National Cancer Institute, 2012).
CNA care of lung cancer patients
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a nurse that works under the supervision of nursing and medical staff (Nursing Assistant Guides, 2009). He/she is employed in nursing homes caring for the elderly and handles many aspects of a cancer patient’s care. He/she provides emotional support, takes care of the patient’s physical and personal needs and communicates to the medical staff about changes in that person’s condition.
The specified roles of Certified Nurses include; (Nursing Assistant Guides, 2009)
- Taking vital signs which include blood pressure, temperature, pulse and respiration rates.
- Assist as required in dressing, bathing or feeding the patient.
- Changing bandages
- Skin care provision
- Emptying beds
- Tidying up the room
- Documentation of the patient’s progress
A lung cancer patient automatically requires assistance from health workers since the cancer affect the patient’s body, mind and spirit and thus cannot go on as normal alone. Unfortunately, these care givers are not affordable to every lung cancer patient and especially those in third world countries. Care can be given by family members or concerned parties with regular visits to health centers, proper medication, good nutrition and so on.
Patients receiving chemotherapy as cancer treatment also requires assistance by a CAN nurse or a caregiver given that it has a lot of unbearable side effects. Since affected patients are mainly elderly people, CAN nurses are of most importance.
Lung cancer is taken the lives of many men and women and especially the elderly because of drinking and smoking for a long time. Cigarettes and alcohol being the major causes should be avoided at all cost in order for us to reduce the number of deaths caused by this disease. The government should take measures to see that young men and women are educated on the dangers of drinking and smoking which have a long term effect.
Instead engaging in drinking or smoking, the elderly and young people should be encouraged to exercise more as this reduces the risk of contracting various known diseases including cancer. Given the outrageous cost of treating cancer which many people cannot afford, care should be taken to avoid it completely.
Lastly the various stakeholders of the health sector should ensure that treatment of lung cancer is affordable to all through such strategies as creating a health policy for cancer patients. Currently treatments such as chemotherapy or medications as so expensive that only the poor are able to afford, leaving out the poor to battle with the cancer alone.
Ong, Yong Yao. (2005). “Clinical approach to medicine”. Retrieved on April 24, 2012 from
Bryan Jared (n.d.). “News about cancer”. Retrieved on April 24, 2012 from
WebMD Medical (2010 August 26). “About lung cancer”. Retrieved on April 24, 2012 from
Claire Bates(2012). “Persistent cough could be a sign of lung cancer”. Daily Mail. Retrieved
May 8, 2012 from www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article
National Cancer Institute (2012). “Lung cancer”. Retrieved from
PubMed Health (2011). Lung cancer. Retrieved May 8, 2012 from www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH
Nursing Assistant Guides. (2009). “What is a certified nursing assistant”. Retrieved on May
8, 2012 from nursing assistant guides.com/certified-nursing-assistant.cna/
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