NCLEX Review: Cancer Module
Welcome back to BrainyNurses.com weekly NCLEX Review, where this week we will talk about our Cancer Module. We hope that you are having an effective review for the big test, and have many resources available to help you.
Patients with cancer will be in a hypermetabolic state due to the rapid and uncontrolled growth of the cancer. Malnutrition, muscle breakdown and dehydration a concern.
The topics covered from the Cancer Module are Warning Signs of Cancer, Side Effects of Radiation and Chemotherapy, and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Warning Signs of Cancer
As shown in the flashcard below, the warning signs of cancer can be remembered by using the acronym CAUTION. We like to use these acronyms to help remember this information and have many more available through our text book. There are also four stages to cancer that can be easily remember. We urge you to keep it simple for the NCLEX and remember that Stage I is Limited Treatment while Stage 4 is Aggressive Treatment.
Other definitions and characteristics of cancer are:
- Benign Neoplasm – Slow-growing, localized, and encapsulated with well-defined borders.
- Malignant neoplasm – Aggressive form that invades and destroys tissues.
- Metastasis – Cells travel through the blood or lymphatic system and invade other tissue and organs to form a secondary tumor.
Age is the biggest risk factor for cancer, with 78% of all cancer occurring after the age of 55 years.
Side Effects of Radiation and Chemotherapy
There are numerous side effects of radiation and chemotherapy that the nurse must be prepared for. The are displayed in the flashcard below for your continued study. There are some key takeaways from some of these side effects that we will go into greater detail.
Bone Marrow Suppression:
- Occurs frequently.
- Monitor for signs and symptoms of low RBC, WBC and platelets.
- Neutropenic precautions will be in place
- Avoid infections including coming in contact with someone who has received a live vaccine
- Prevent secondary infection since immune system is suppressed. Fever may not occur even in the presence of an infection
- Diet should be low-bacteria, well-balanced, have adequate protein, minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C
- Wigs are frequently covered by insurance and should be chosen before the hair is lost.
- Care of the hair
- Wash 2-3 times a week with mild shampoo. Pat hair dry
- No hair dye or harsh chemicals
- Radiation pneumonia with external radiation
- Tissue damage to target area with external radiation
- Moist desquamation can occur due to destruction of the basal cells
Type of malignant B cell lymphoma characterized by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another usually beginning in the cervical or supraclavicular area. ◊ Systemic symptoms develop with advanced disease and it primarily affects those between 15 and 30 years of age and those older than age 55 years
Remember: you can Help Hodgkin’s.
Assessment usually starts on one side of the neck and Systemic Manifestations associated with poorer prognosis are:
- Night Sweats
- Weight Loss
Below is a sample question that you can expect during the NCLEX.
Answer: 1) Weight Gain. Any time there is a cancerous process, hyper-metabolism is occurs and weight loss can be observed during assessment.
Management of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Combination of radiation and chemotherapy
- Alopecia common with treatment
- May make the male sterile so sperm banking may be done prior to therapy
We hope that you have gotten a lot of useful information from the Cancer Module that will help you in your NCLEX preparation and to improve your capabilities as a nurse.
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