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Nursing Care Plan for Cancer: Overview

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer

Cancer Cells

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Cancer is a general term used to describe a disturbance of cellular growth and refers to a group of diseases and not a single disease entity. There are currently more than 150 different known types of cancer. Because cancer is a cellular disease, it can arise from any body tissue, with manifestations that result from failure to control the proliferation and maturation of cells.

There are four main classifications of cancer according to tissue type:

  1. Lymphomas (cancers originating in infection-fighting organs)
  2.  leukemias (cancers originating in blood-forming organs)
  3. Sarcomas (cancers originating in bones, muscle, or connective tissue), and
  4. Carcinomas (cancers originating in epithelial cells). Within these broad categories, a cancer is classified by histology, stage, and grade.

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer

Here is a Sample of Nursing Care Plan for Cancer.

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer: Nursing Priorities & Discharge Goals

Nursing Priorities | Nursing Care Plan for Cancer

  1. Support adaptation and independence.
  2. Promote comfort.
  3. Maintain optimal physiological functioning.
  4. Prevent complications.
  5. Provide information about disease process/condition, prognosis, and treatment needs.

 Discharge Goals | Nursing Care Plan for Cancer

  1. Patient is dealing with current situation realistically.
  2. Pain alleviated/controlled.
  3. Homeostasis achieved.
  4. Complications prevented/minimized.
  5. Disease process/condition, prognosis, and therapeutic choices and regimen understood.
  6. Plan in place to meet needs after discharge.

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer: Nursing Diagnosis

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer | Nursing Diagnosis of Cancer

  • Fear/Anxiety (specify level) related to Situational crisis (cancer); Threat to/change in health/socioeconomic status, role functioning, interaction patterns; Threat of death; Separation from family (hospitalization, treatments), interpersonal transmission/contagion of feelings.

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer: Nursing Intervention & Rationale

Nursing Interventions of Cancer with Rationale

Anxiety Reduction (NIC)

Nursing Interventions of Cancer with Rationale: Independent

  1. Review patient’s/SO’s previous experience with cancer. Determine what the doctor has told patient and what conclusion patient has reached. Rationale: Clarifies patient’s perceptions; assists in identification of fear(s) and misconceptions based on diagnosis and experience with cancer.
  2. Encourage patient to share thoughts and feelings. Rationale: Provides opportunity to examine realistic fears and misconceptions about diagnosis.
  3. Provide open environment in which patient feels safe to discuss feelings or to refrain from talking. Rationale: Helps patient feel accepted in present condition without feeling judged and promotes sense of dignity and control.
  4. Maintain frequent contact with patient. Talk with and touch patient as appropriate. Rationale: Provides assurance that the patient is not alone or rejected; conveys respect for and acceptance of the person, fostering trust.
  5. Be aware of effects of isolation on patient when required by immunosuppression or radiation implant. Limit use of isolation clothing/masks as possible. Rationale: Sensory deprivation may result when sufficient stimulation is not available and may intensify feelings of anxiety/fear and alienation.
  6. Assist patient/SO in recognizing and clarifying fears to begin developing coping strategies for dealing with these fears. Rationale: Coping skills are often stressed after diagnosis and during different phases of treatment. Support and counseling are often necessary to enable individual to recognize and deal with fear and to realize that control/coping strategies are available.
  7. Provide accurate, consistent information regarding diagnosis and prognosis. Avoid arguing about patient’s perceptions of situation.  Rationale: Can reduce anxiety and enable patient to make decisions/choices based on realities.

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer

Nursing Intervention with Rationale: Independent | Continuation:

  1. Permit expressions of anger, fear, despair without confrontation. Give information that feelings are normal and are to be appropriately expressed. Rationale: Acceptance of feelings allows patient to begin to deal with situation.
  2. Explain the recommended treatment, its purpose, and potential side effects. Help patient prepare for treatments. Rationale: The goal of cancer treatment is to destroy malignant cells while minimizing damage to normal ones. Treatment may include surgery (curative, preventive, palliative), as well as chemotherapy, radiation (internal, external), or newer/organ-specific treatments such as whole-body hyperthermia or biotherapy. Bone marrow or peripheral progenitor cell (stem cell) transplant may be recommended for some types of cancer.
  3. Explain procedures, providing opportunity for questions and honest answers. Stay with patient during anxiety-producing procedures and consultations. Rationale: Accurate information allows patient to deal more effectively with reality of situation, thereby reducing anxiety and fear of the unknown.
  4. Provide primary and consistent caregivers whenever possible. Rationale: May help reduce anxiety by fostering therapeutic relationship and facilitating continuity of care.
  5. Promote calm, quiet environment. Rationale: Facilitates rest, conserves energy, and may enhance coping abilities.
  6. Identify stage/degree of grief patient and SO are currently experiencing. (Refer to ND: Grieving, anticipatory, following.) Rationale: Choice of interventions is dictated by stage of grief, coping behaviors, e.g., anger/withdrawal, denial.
  7. Be alert to signs of denial/depression, e.g., withdrawal, anger, inappropriate remarks. Determine presence of suicidal ideation and assess potential on a scale of 1–10. Rationale: Patient may use defense mechanism of denial and express hope that diagnosis is inaccurate. Feelings of guilt, spiritual distress, physical symptoms, or lack of cure may cause the patient to become withdrawn and believe that suicide is a viable alternative.
  8. Encourage and foster patient interaction with support systems. Rationale: Reduces feelings of isolation. If family support systems are not available, outside sources may be needed immediately, e.g., local cancer support groups.

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer

Nursing Interventions of Cancer with Rationale: Collaborative

  1. Administer antianxiety medications, e.g., lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), as indicated. Rationale: May be useful for brief periods of time to help patient handle feelings of anxiety related to diagnosis/situation and/or during periods of high stress.
  2. Refer to additional resources for counseling/support as needed. Rationale: May be useful from time to time to assist patient/SO in dealing with anxiety.

Nursing Care Plan for Cancer: Overview; Nursing Care Plan for Cancer: Nursing Priorities & Discharge Goals; Nursing Care Plan for Cancer: Nursing Diagnosis; Nursing Care Plan for Cancer: Nursing Intervention with Rationale. Nursing Care Plan for Cancer.

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