Nursing 211

N211: Health Differences Across the Lifespan I

Chapter Three: Abnormal Cellular Growth 3.1 Cancer Cancer is a mutation of normal cells into abnormally proliferating cells; a neoplasm is an abnormal growth or tumor (a solid mass functioning independently and serving no useful purpose). Benign neoplasms are slow growing, localized, and encapsulated nonmalignant growths with well- defined borders; generally, easily removed and only cause tissue damage by compressing tissues and interfering with circulation. Malignant neoplasms are aggressive growths that invade and destroy surrounding tissues; can lead to death unless aggressively treated. Metastasis occurs when malignant cells travel through blood and the lymph system and invade other tissues and organs to form a secondary tumor. Risk factors include increased risk for people over 65 years of age, certain cancers are more commonly seen in specific genders, certain geographic locations, certain immune disturbances such as Epstein-Barr, genital herpes, papillomavirus, hepatitis B and CMV (cytomegalovirus). Exposure to chemical that are carcinogen heightens the risk as well. There is a strong correlation between smoking and development of cancer. Alcohol serves as a promoter in cancers in the liver and esophagus. Diets that are high in fat, low in fiber and those containing nitroamines and nitrosindoles (in preserved meats and pickled foods) promote certain cancers such as colon, breast, esophageal and gastric. Miscellaneous factors also may correlate to increased incident of cancer such as stress, occupation involving exposure to carcinogens (asbestos workers) and viruses. American Cancer Society’s seven warning signs of cancer: change in bowel or bladder habits, a sore that does not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge, thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere, indigestion or difficulty swallowing, obvious change in a wart or mole and nagging cough or hoarseness. (Remember to use CAUTION to call risk factors) 3.2 Breast Cancer Detection of Breast Cancer: beginning at age 20, routine monthly breast self-examinations; women ages 20 to 39 should have a breast examination by a health care provider every three years. Women age 40 and over should have a yearly mammogram and breast examination by a health care provider.


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3.3 Colon and Rectal Cancer

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