Benchmark – Nursing Process: Approach to Care



Benchmark – Nursing Process: Approach to Care


The healthcare sector provides high quality, safe, and evidence-based care to patients to enable them to achieve better health outcomes and live a high-quality life. Nurses often meet patients with different medical conditions daily as primary care providers. Such patients require different approaches by the nurses and other healthcare providers due to their differing health needs. Some of the life-changing conditions, such as cancer, often require different approaches by the nurses while delivering care since this is currently among the most feared medical conditions by the patients, given that it is associated with high mortality rates, including economic burden. However, both approaches should be patient-centred to offer holistic care to the patient so that all their health needs are addressed appropriately.

More and more incidences of cancer are continuously reported, with the reports from the American Cancer Society indicating that it is likely for up to 1,735,350 new cancer diagnoses and that 609,640 out of this total will die of cancer in the United States (Siegel et al., 2021). This disease affects everyone without any form of discrimination. This paper focuses on exploring cancer diagnosis and staging, associated complications of cancer, side effects of treatment and the methods to lessen the physical and psychological effects, and description of various factors which contribute to the mortality rates of various cancers in Americans. Additionally, the paper will address the roles of the American Cancer Society (ACS), how the nursing process is utilized to provide effective care for cancer patients, and lastly, how undergraduate education in liberal arts and science studies contributes to the foundation of nursing knowledge and prepares nurses to work with patients utilizing the nursing process.

Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer

Various cancers exist, each with specific signs and symptoms and clinical manifestations. The varying clinical manifestations are unique to a specific cancer type, thereby can be used for the diagnosis and staging of these cancers.  Early detection of cancers is always associated with a better prognosis; thus, the need for cancer screening is helpful in such early identifications (Tsikouras et al., 2016). Self-examination can also be useful in identifying any alteration in tissues by the individuals themselves before the onset of symptoms, thereby aiding in early diagnosis. With the advancement in technology and its application in cancer diagnosis, various mechanisms are currently available to diagnose different cancers. Mammography and ultrasound are useful in the detection of any change in the breast tissue, which through further investigations such as biopsy, could be used to determine if such changes are cancerous or not.

Additionally, other procedures such as endoscopic examination of the colon are useful in detecting any changes in the walls of the colon, such as polyps, which can be malignant on some occasions (Macrae et al., 2017). The patient’s history is also crucial and can provide useful information to help make a diagnosis of cancer (Tsikouras et al., 2016). Complaints by the patients such as rapid unintentional weight loss, night sweats, fever and other associated symptoms such as non-healing sores or unexplained bleeding could point towards a malignancy.

Depending on the patient’s history, various tests are performed once the clinician suspects the patient may have cancer. These tests will be useful in determining if, indeed, the patients have developed cancers. Examples of such tests include; laboratory tests and various imaging techniques such as MRI and CT scans. A biopsy will be done once a tumour or change in the normal tissue structure is identified. Then the samples are taken for further laboratory examination to determine if the changes in the tissue were cancerous or not, with the help of a microscope (Tsikouras et al., 2016). Upon determining that the changes observed were cancerous, it is followed by the cancer classification according to size and if it has metastasized to other regions.

Various staging systems exist, which are used to stage the various types of cancers. To stage the various cancers, these systems use information such as the tumour location, the size of the tumours, the cell type present in the tumour, and if cancer has spread to other regions of the body. The most widely used staging system across various hospitals and medical centres is the TNM staging system. The T stands for the size and extent of the primary tumour, N refers to the regional lymph nodes involved. Lastly, M stands for metastasis, whether cancer has metastasized to other regions or not. Specific numbers are assigned to each of these letters, and the interpretation of such numbers help in determining the stage of cancer (Hortobagyi et al., 2017). For instance, a letter X following the letters implies no detectable measurements. A 0 after the letters will imply that cancer can’t be found or hasn’t spread to other regions. Numbers 1 to 4 are used to show the size, location and degree of spread. Higher grades indicate a rapidly growing abnormal tumour that could be potentially life-threatening if not promptly addressed.

Complications of Cancer, the Side Effects of Treatment, and Methods to Lessen Physical and Psychological Effects

Complications of Cancer

Cancer causes changes in the body’s normal functioning and subsequent complications such as constipation and disorientation, depending on the type of cancer and the region of the body affected. For instance, lung cancer is associated with the development of the syndrome of inappropriate ADH secretion (SIADH), where the patient has elevated levels of ADH, which results in hypernatremia and other psychological symptoms such as depression, irritability and personality changes (Grohé et al., 2015). Additionally, as tumours grow, they may start pressing on the nerves, resulting in various neurological symptoms. For instance, brain tumours can cause features of raised intracranial pressure such as severe headaches, vomiting, visual disturbances, or even stroke features. Cancers of the chest region such as lung cancers, breast and lymphomas, together with metastasis to the pericardium, can cause cardiac tamponade. This condition makes it difficult for the heart to function properly, increasing cardiac arrest risk.

Side Effects of Treatment

The major treatment regimen and procedures for cancer aim to minimize cancer progression and prevent complications. The treatment modalities include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. In some cases, more than one treatment modality is used. Each of these treatment modalities has its associated side effects. These side effects vary depending on the type of cancer, the stage, and the treatment modality (Pearce et al., 2017). Drugs used during chemotherapy are toxic to the body cells, the same way they are to the cancer cells. Therefore, the use of such medications could result in the death of body cells. Radiotherapy is also associated with certain side effects, such as loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, skin changes, pain, and thrombocytopenia. Cancer treatment is often directed towards arresting the progression of the disease and managing the various side effects of the treatment to prevent the development of complications (Pearce et al., 2017). Surgical procedures to remove tumours is also associated with side effects such as permanent scars.

Methods to Lessen Physical and Psychological Effects

Diagnosis of cancer is associated with various physical and psychological impacts to the affected individual and their families and friends. The various physical changes that individuals undergo due to cancer are associated with permanent psychological effects, making it hard to cope. The various impacts of this condition on the patient’s well-being emphasize the need to develop measures that will help in lessening these physical and psychological effects (Pearce et al., 2017). Firstly, it is crucial to understand the patients, mourn about these effects, and inform them that it is okay to be devastated following this condition’s impact on them.

It is also important to communicate with the patients, as this can provide an idea of how best the situation can be managed, given that some of the patients may have been in a similar position. Besides, it is important to encourage the patients to stay active, significantly reducing stress and improving their self-image (Pearce et al., 2017). Cancer is associated with high incidences of depression among the affected patients. Providing social support to these patients will help them in coping with their condition as it will provide a platform for the patients to express themselves, and also the support team to offer encouragement to the patient on what is expected of them to enable them to live a quality life despite their condition.

Contributing Factors to the Mortality Rates of Various Cancers in Americans

The numerous deaths due to cancer are due to risk factors, some of which are preventable and modifiable. Among the most established risk factors are lifestyle habits such as cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, radiation exposure, excessive consumption of red meat, unhealthy diet and obesity (DeSantis et al., 2019). Other infections, especially viral, have been linked to the development of certain cancers such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cigarette smoking leads to the development of the lung, oesophagus and larynx. Additionally, obesity increases the risk of developing colorectal, breast cancer for women, and cancer of the liver. Excessive alcohol consumption is also linked to an increased risk of developing liver cancer, breast cancer in women and colorectal cancer (DeSantis et al., 2019). Radiation exposure such as ultraviolet radiation is associated with increased risks of developing skin cancer. Lastly, HPV is the risk factor for the development of cervical cancers in women, which is among the leading cause of mortalities among women.

Roles of American Cancer Society (ACS)

ACS is an organization committed to eliminating cancer within the American population. The organization offers various forms of support to affected individuals and their families. Such support includes financial, educational information, support groups and treatment options (Siegel et al., 2021). Support groups are an effective way of managing patients with cancers, as, through them, patients share their experiences, something which can motivate others who were on the verge of giving up. Patients can acquire various services depending on their requirements, which are useful in improving their health outcomes (Siegel et al., 2021). Reviewing the ACS website enables the individuals to explore various services offered by the organization and tailor them to their needs.



How Nursing Process is utilized to Provide Effective Care for Cancer Patients

The nursing process provides a guiding framework that the nurses follow to provide holistic care. This requires proper assessment and evaluation of physical, emotional, past medical history and the patient’s knowledge regarding their condition and treatment. This often involves applying critical thinking and applying nursing skills and knowledge to analyze the subjective and objective data of the patient properly. By evaluating the various health patterns, the healthcare providers can formulate a diagnosis and develop a care plan to help achieve better health outcomes for the patients (Yarbro et al., 2016). The care plan should incorporate various aspects, such as the patient and the support group, to offer holistic care. The patients are aware of their condition and the side effects of various treatment modalities. Such a care plan should also include the education of the patient and their families, and this should start before initiation of the treatment and continue throughout the treatment period (Yarbro et al., 2016). Various aspects of the patient’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs should be regularly assessed throughout the cancer treatment journey.

How Undergraduate Education in Liberal Arts and Science Studies Contributes to the Foundation of Nursing Knowledge and Prepares Nurses to Work with Patients Utilizing the Nursing Process.

The healthcare providers should provide patient-centred care to the patients to incorporate and address their various needs, including spiritual, cultural, and emotional needs. Doing this requires a well-organized undergraduate nursing education to prepare them adequately for such practice that lies ahead. Writing courses and English literature courses is crucial for the nurses, as they will empower them with skills necessary in providing intelligent reports concerning the patients (Yarbro et al., 2016). Math and science are other important courses incorporated in nursing education. It enables the healthcare providers to analyze the various values such as vital signs, laboratory results, and the various indications for administering medications. Studying psychology, sociology, and history is also of necessity for nurses. It enables them to meet various patient needs, which differ depending on the patient’s characteristics and cultural backgrounds (Yarbro et al., 2016).


In summary, cancer is a common condition in the current world. Patients are affected differently, even though they may have a similar type of cancer. Such variations emphasize the need for the various healthcare providers to offer individualized care, addressing individual patient needs. Besides, it is essential to incorporate the patient’s family and friends in the care provision. This is essential in enhancing better health outcomes for the patients and improving their quality of life.










DeSantis, C. E., Miller, K. D., Goding Sauer, A., Jemal, A., & Siegel, R. L. (2019). Cancer statistics for African Americans, 2019. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians, 69(3), 211-233.

Grohé, C., Berardi, R., & Burst, V. (2015). Hyponatraemia—SIADH in lung cancer diagnostic and treatment algorithms. Critical reviews in oncology/haematology, 96(1), 1-8.

Hortobagyi, G. N., Edge, S. B., & Giuliano, A. (2018). New and important changes in the TNM staging system for breast cancer. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book, 38, 457-467.

Macrae, F. A., Bendell, J., Tanabe, K. K., Savarese, D., & Grover, S. (2017). Clinical presentation, diagnosis, and staging of colorectal cancer. UpToDate.[Google Scholar].

Pearce, A., Haas, M., Viney, R., Pearson, S. A., Haywood, P., Brown, C., & Ward, R. (2017). Incidence and severity of self-reported chemotherapy side effects in routine care: A prospective cohort study. PloS one, 12(10), e0184360.

Siegel, R. L., Miller, K. D., Fuchs, H. E., & Jemal, A. (2021). Cancer statistics, 2021. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians, 71(1), 7-33.

Tsikouras, P., Zervoudis, S., Manav, B., Tomara, E., Iatrakis, G., Romanidis, C., … & Galazios, G. (2016). Cervical cancer: screening, diagnosis and staging. J Buon, 21(2), 320-325.

Yarbro, C. H., Wujcik, D., & Gobel, B. H. (Eds.). (2016). Cancer nursing. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.



The nursing process is a tool that puts knowledge into practice. By utilizing this systematic problem-solving method, nurses can determine the health care needs of an individual and provide personalized care.

Write a paper (1,750-2,000 words) on cancer and approach to care based on the utilization of the nursing process. Include the following in your paper:

Describe the diagnosis and staging of cancer.
Describe at least three complications of cancer, the side effects of treatment, and methods to lessen physical and psychological effects.
Discuss what factors contribute to the yearly incidence and mortality rates of various cancers in Americans.
Explain how the American Cancer Society (ACS) might provide education and support. What ACS services would you recommend and why?
Explain how the nursing process is utilized to provide safe and effective care for cancer patients across the life span. Your explanation should include each of the five phases and demonstrate the delivery of holistic and patient-focused care.
Discuss how undergraduate education in liberal arts and science studies contributes to the foundation of nursing knowledge and prepares nurses to work with patients utilizing the nursing process. Consider mathematics, social and physical sciences, and science studies as an interdisciplinary research area.
You are required to cite to a minimum of four sources to complete this assignment. Sources must be published within the last 5 years and appropriate for the assignment criteria and relevant to nursing practice.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.

Benchmark Information

This benchmark assignment assesses the following programmatic competencies:


2.1: Incorporate liberal arts and science studies into nursing knowledge.

3.1 Utilize the nursing process to provide safe and effective care for patients across the life span.



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