Sample Healthcare Case Study Paper on Breast Cancer

W.R went to the physician a few days after discovering the lump on her left breast. The diagnosis was therefore done early enough. This accompanied by tests, a biopsy and the removal of the malignant tumor and lymph nodes containing malignant cells, contributed to the good prognosis. Chemotherapy and radiation were also conducted followed by a six week recovery period.

Discuss why chemotherapy and radiation recommended as treatment

Radiation is a form of cancer treatment that uses radiation rays like gamma rays or x-rays in high doses to shrink tumors or destroy cancer cells (National Cancer Institute, 2016). When cure is not possible, radiation can be used to relieve pain and other complications related to cancer tumor. Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to slow down growth of cancer cells or destroy them completely. Some chemotherapy drugs made in the laboratory while others are may be obtained naturally from plants (Cancer Council, 2016). The method of administration of chemotherapy depends on the drugs being used. It is commonly done intravenously but can also be done through oral tablets, creams, or injections. Cancer can be treated through either chemotherapy or radiation but sometimes they are used together to increase effectiveness. Chemotherapy and radiation may be done together or one after completion of the other. When radiation is done before or during chemotherapy, it shrinks cancer cells to enable chemotherapy work better. When radiation is done after chemotherapy, it aims at killing cancer cells that did not die during chemotherapy.




Explain why lymph nodes were checked for breast cancer

Lymph nodes are tiny clusters of immune cells that filter and trap cancer cells and remove them from the body. Lymph nodes are checked to identify cancer cells that are present and trying to spread. The presence or absence of cancer cells is what the doctor uses to determine the aggressiveness of the treatment required (Nall, 2017). During examination, the doctor checks enlargement of the lymph nodes by feeling under the arm. If the lymph nodes are enlarged, there are high chances that the malignant cells have spread. If lymph nodes are not enlarged it does not necessarily mean that they are cancer free. Enlargement is assessed physically but a biopsy is usually required to remove lymph nodes and examine their status. The condition of the lymph nodes is highly linked to the prognosis. The less the lymph nodes contain cancer, the better the prognosis.

Describe three possible side effects of the treatment

Nausea and vomiting – When chemotherapy is done, brain and digestive system sensors detect it as foreign. Through a series of complex signals among the bloodstream, the brain, the, mouth, the small intestines and the stomach, nausea vomiting is stimulated by the medication. Some patients get nausea and vomiting a few hours after receiving chemotherapy (Fleishman,2018). This is referred to as acute nausea and vomiting. Others do not experience the symptoms on the day chemotherapy is done, but may get nausea and vomiting in the following few days. This is known as delayed nausea and vomiting. After chemotherapy and radiation, patients are given anti-nausea medication depending on the type of treatment and the amount of nausea and vomiting expected. Anti-nausea medicine may be administers intravenously, as oral pills and liquids, as a suppository or as a skin patch.

Fatigue -Fatigue is described as worn out, weary, weak, slow or heavy feeling. Fatigue from chemotherapy and radiation can be mild or extreme. The time when a patients starts feeling fatigue after treatment depends on their health, age, how they felt before the treatment, and how physically active they are (National Cancer Institute, 2016). Fatigue lasts from between six weeks and one year after then last treatment. Fatigue can be managed through rest, exercise, taking plenty of fluids, and proper planning of activities.

Skin changes- Radiation can cause skin changes such as redness, dry and peeling skin, itching, swollen skin and moist reaction. Radiation destroys healthy sin cells alongside the cancer cells.  When radiation is done often, skin cells are not able to regrow in between treatments. Skin changes may occur on any body part that is receiving radiation (National Cancer Institute, 2016). They can begin a few weeks after treatment starts and they mostly go away several weeks after the treatment is over. The skin on the treated are however, may always look blotchy and darker. Skin changes can be managed by good skin care, using soft breathable fabrics and protecting the skin from the sun.



Cancer Council. (2016). Understanding Chemotherapy: A guide for people with cancer, their family and friends. Cancer Council Australia. ISBN:978 1 925136 18 0

Fleishman, S. B., MD. (2018). Understanding and Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects. NewYork: CancerCare.

Nall, R., PhD. (2017, October 16). How is breast cancer related to the axillary lymph nodes? Medical News Today.

National Cancer Institute. (2016). Radiation Therapy and You: Support for People with Cancer. National Cancer Institute. doi:17-7157