Cancer Symptoms and their Management
Symptom Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics) Possible Nursing Diagnosis Interventions (including Medications and complementary alternative therapy)
Chemo Induced Nausea (CIN)
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat. Diagnostics may include blood tests to measure hemoglobin and red blood cell count.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Fatigue related to decreased oxygen-carrying capacity of blood (due to anemia)
Administer prescribed iron supplements or erythropoietin-stimulating agents as ordered.
Encourage a diet rich in iron, folate, and vitamin B12.
Monitor vital signs and oxygen saturation levels.
Schedule rest periods and prioritize activities to conserve energy.
Provide education on energy conservation techniques and the importance of adhering to the prescribed treatment plan.
Collaborate with the healthcare team to address any underlying causes of anemia.
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Increased susceptibility to infections, fever, chills, sore throat. Diagnostics may include blood tests to measure the absolute neutrophil count.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for infection related to neutropenia
Practice strict hand hygiene and encourage the patient and visitors to do the same.
Promote a clean and sterile environment.
Monitor vital signs and temperature regularly.
Teach the patient and caregivers about signs and symptoms of infection and when to seek medical attention.
Administer prescribed growth factors or antibiotics as ordered.
Encourage the patient to avoid crowds and individuals with known infections.
Support the patient’s emotional well-being and provide education about the importance of infection prevention.
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Easy bruising, prolonged bleeding from cuts, petechiae, bleeding gums. Diagnostics may include blood tests to measure platelet count.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for bleeding related to thrombocytopenia
Encourage the patient to avoid activities that may cause injury or bleeding.
Monitor for signs of bleeding, such as petechiae, ecchymosis, or bleeding from mucous membranes.
Assist the patient with maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent gum bleeding.
Administer platelet transfusions or medications to stimulate platelet production as ordered.
Educate the patient and caregivers about signs of bleeding and the importance of seeking immediate medical attention.
Implement fall prevention measures to minimize the risk of injury.
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Tingling, numbness, pain, weakness, loss of coordination. Diagnostics may include neurological examinations.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Impaired physical mobility related to peripheral neuropathy
Assess and monitor sensory and motor function regularly.
Provide education on strategies to prevent injury, such as avoiding hot surfaces or using handrails for stability.
Assist with the administration of prescribed medications for neuropathic pain, such as gabapentin or pregabalin.
Encourage the patient to engage in gentle exercises and activities to maintain mobility.
Collaborate with the healthcare team to manage and minimize neuropathy symptoms.
Symptom: Cognitive disorders
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Memory loss, confusion, difficulty concentrating. Diagnostics may include cognitive assessments and neuroimaging studies.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for impaired cognitive function related to cancer treatment
Provide a structured environment with familiar objects and routines to enhance cognitive functioning.
Use memory aids and techniques, such as calendars, lists, and reminders.
Encourage the patient to engage in mental stimulation activities, such as puzzles or reading.
Collaborate with the healthcare team to adjust medicationsthat may contribute to cognitive impairment.
Support the patient and caregivers in coping with cognitive changes and provide education on available resources and support groups.
Symptom: Chemo-Induced Nausea (CIN)
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite. Diagnostics may involve assessment of the severity and frequency of nausea and vomiting.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Nausea related to chemotherapy treatment
Administer prescribed antiemetic medications before and after chemotherapy sessions as ordered.
Encourage the patient to eat small, frequent meals and avoid greasy or strongly flavored foods.
Provide oral hygiene before and after meals to reduce the likelihood of taste alterations.
Offer alternative therapies such as acupressure wristbands or aromatherapy under the guidance of healthcare professionals.
Educate the patient about self-care measures to alleviate nausea, such as avoiding triggers, sipping on clear fluids, and practicing relaxation techniques.
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Painful sores, inflammation, and ulceration of the mucous membranes in the mouth and digestive tract. Diagnostics may involve physical examination and assessment of oral and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Impaired oral mucous membrane related to mucositis
Encourage regular oral care with gentle brushing using a soft toothbrush or mouth swabs.
Promote adequate hydration and offer ice chips or soothing mouth rinses (e.g., saline or baking soda solutions) to relieve discomfort.
Administer prescribed topical analgesic or mouthwash as ordered.
Collaborate with the healthcare team to adjust medication regimens that may worsen mucositis symptoms.
Provide education on dietary modifications, such as avoiding spicy or acidic foods, and promoting a soft, bland diet.
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Hair loss, including scalp, body, and facial hair. Diagnostics may involve observation and assessment of hair loss patterns.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Disturbed body image related to alopecia
Provide emotional support and empathetic listening to address the patient’s concerns about body image and self-esteem.
Educate the patient about the possibility of hair loss and explore options for wig selection or head coverings if desired.
Encourage the patient to express feelings and emotions related to hair loss.
Provide information on hair regrowth expectations and timelines.
Connect the patient with support groups or counseling services for additional emotional support.
Clinical Manifestations (including Diagnostics): Varies depending on the source and severity of pain. Diagnostics may involve physical examination, pain scales, and diagnostic imaging.
Possible Nursing Diagnosis: Acute or chronic pain related to cancer or its treatment
Assess and document the characteristics of pain, including location, intensity, duration, and factors that aggravate or alleviate it.
Administer prescribed analgesic medications as ordered, considering the appropriate route, dose, and frequency.
Implement non-pharmacological pain management techniques, such as relaxation techniques, distraction, heat or cold therapy, or massage.
Collaborate with the healthcare team to develop a comprehensive pain management plan, including multimodal approaches and potential referrals to pain specialists.
Provide education to the patient and caregivers about pain management strategies and the importance of timely reporting of pain for effective intervention.