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Overview and Advances in Oncology

Course Id 200916
Course Name Overview and Advances in Oncology
Course Catagory Nursing and General Healthcare
Course Price 33.54
Course CEU 3

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe advances in the field of oncology related to the modality of chemotherapy.
  • Identify the different modalities of cancer therapy.
  • Define cancer disease staging and tumor classification.
  • Identify the basic characteristics of Carcinogenesis.
  • Define the differences between malignant and benign carcinoma.
  • Describe the phases of clinical trials in the testing of new anti-neoplastic drugs.
  • Describe tumor response criteria and other methods by which response to treatment is determined.
  • Explain the nurse¹s role in obtaining informed consent.
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of an extravasation and infiltration of a vesicant, and outline the appropriate nursing measures to minimize tissue damage.
  • Describe safety precautions to minimize exposure of healthcare personnel, family, patient, and the environment, from the potentially harmful effects of chemotherapy.

Course Information

The American Cancer society traces its origins to 1913, when a group of physicians and laymen met in New York City and founded the American Society for the Control of Cancer. Their original premise at that time, was to disseminate knowledge concerning the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of cancer; investigate the conditions under which the cancer occurred, and compile the statistics. The purpose of the organization is very similar today; to conquer cancer through balanced programs of research, education (preventative), patient service, and rehabilitation.

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that spread from the site of origin. This spread, if uncontrolled, invades vital organs and results, ultimately, in death. Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment can cure many cancers while others can be controlled for many years with a variety of treatment approaches.

Cancer is most often treated by surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormones. Recently immunotherapy has been added to this armament. Cancer occurs at any age, although it is sometimes referred to as a Œdisease of aging¹, with statistics citing 66% of cancer deaths occurring after the age of 65, it is also accountable for the death of more children between the ages of 3 and 14 than any other disease.

More than 6 million Americans alive today have had a history of cancer; most but not all, of the 3 million who were diagnosed five years ago can be considered cured. "Cure" is defined as having no evidence of recurrent cancer, while simultaneously having the same life expectancy as a person who never had cancer.

For most forms of cancer, five years after treatment with no signs of recurrence is a good statistical mark for continued survival, although there still can be an attrition rate beyond that time. In fact, for some of the more aggressive cancers, fatal in a short period of time, a three year survival rate may be considered a "cure". Other cancers may require a much longer period of time without recurrence to be considered cured. In 1991, 1 million people were diagnosed with cancer. These statistics do not include nonmelanoma or carcinoma in situ. Nonmelanoma cancers alone account for 600,000 new cases annually.

At the turn of this century very few people with major cancers had much hope of long - term survival. More than 60 years ago, in the 1930s, less than 1 in 5 persons with cancer was alive 5 years after cancer treatment. In the 1940s it was 1 in 4, and in the 1960s it was 1 in 3. Today 40%, or four out of ten persons who develop cancer, will be alive five years after treatment. The improvement from 1 in 3 to 4 out of 10 represents 69,000 people in 1991 alone. This is an "observed" survival rate. In terms of normal life expectancy when other causes of death (heart disease, accidents, etc.) are taken into account, 50% of the cancer population will be alive five years after cancer treatment. This "relative" survival rate is a more accurate measure of success in the treatment of cancer.

Cancer is a universal disease that affects people without regard to race, gender, socioeconomic status, or culture. However, different forms of cancer strike specific age, ethnic, and gender groups with varying frequency and severity. For example, cancer morbidity and mortality increase5 rapidly with age, and it is believed by many researchers that if you live long enough you will eventually develop some form of cancer.

Socioeconomic factors are thought to explain ethnic differences in cancer. Both the incidence and mortality of certain cancers are higher in African Americans than in Caucasians. Although women are more likely to develop cancer, men are more likely to die of the disease. The sites in men that are associated with the greatest mortality are the lungs, prostate, colon and rectum. In women the leading sites are the lungs, breasts, colon and rectum.