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Pain Management


Title: Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer Author: kmasket Last modified by: Created Date: 11/19/2004 6:06:07 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Pain Management

Pain Management
Safety, Security and Comfort Needs of the Acutely
Ill Client
  • PAIN
  • The 5th Vital Sign

Definitions of Pain
  • Pain is whatever the experiencing person says it
    is, existing whenever he/she says it does. -Mc
    Caffery 1968
  • An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience
    associated with actual or potential tissue damage
    or described in terms of such damage. - Intl.
    Assoc. for the study of pain

  • Only 30 of cancer patients get adequate pain
  • 15-20 of Americans have acute pain
  • 25-30 of Americans have chronic pain
  • Leading cause disability for those lt 45 y/o

The Mechanisms of Pain
  • Transduction
  • Transmission
  • Perception
  • Modulation

The Mechanisms of Pain
  • Transduction-
  • Conversion of mechanical, thermal or chemical
    stimulus into a neuronal action.
  • Peripheral nerve sites- peripheral afferent
    nociceptor (PAN)
  • Action Potential causes movement of pain stimulus
    What causes it?
  • Nociceptive- Release of Chemicals
  • Neuropathic- Abnormal processing of stimuli by
    the nervous system

The Mechanisms of Pain
  • Transmission- movement of pain impulses from the
    site of transduction to the brain.
  • Transmission along the nociceptor fibers to the
    level of the spinal cord.
  • Dorsal horn processing.
  • Transmission to the thalamus and the cortex.

The Mechanisms of Pain
  • Perception- recognition of pain
  • However, there is no precise location where pain
    perception occurs.
  • Individualized
  • Imagery is a good pain-reduction therapy.
  • Subjective
  • Sensory Recognition that you have pain.
  • Affective Emotional responses to pain.
  • Behavioral How someone expresses or controls
  • Cognitive Persons beliefs attitudes about
  • Sociocultural Age, Gender, education level,
    culture and support systems.

The Mechanisms of Pain
  • Modulation- activation of descending pathways
    that either inhibit or facilitate effects on pain

Types of Pain
  • Nociceptive Pain
  • Normal processing of stimuli that damages or has
    the potential to damage, normal tissues if
  • Different types of origins
  • Somatic Pain Arises from bone, joint, muscle,
    skin or connective tissue.
  • Visceral Pain Arises from visceral organs, such
    as pancreas or stomach.

Somatic Pain
  • Described as achy, stabbing, sharp
  • Examples
  • Bone pain, fractures
  • Muscle tears, sprains
  • Joint pain
  • Soft tissue injury

Visceral Pain
  • Diffuse and difficult to localize if d/t
    obstruction of hollow viscus
  • Sharp, aching when due to injury to other
    visceral structures such as
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney Stones
  • Menstrual Cramps
  • Bowel Obstruction

Neuropathic Pain
  • Multiple Pain Syndromes
  • Often difficult to treat.
  • Believed to be the abnormal firing of the
    peripheral or central nervous system.
  • Often described as burning, stinging, shooting,
    traveling, or electric-like.
  • Caused by phantom limb pain, complex regional
    limb pain complex regional pain syndromes,
    diabetic neuropathy, post-herpetic neuralgia, or
    trigeminal neuralgia

Acute VS. Chronic Pain
  • Sudden
  • Short Duration lt 3 months
  • Mild--gt Severe
  • Can identify specific cause.
  • Predictable prognosis
  • Can be single event or recurrent.
  • ? as healing progresses.
  • Continues for more than one month after healing
    or an acute lesion, or
  • Recurs over a chronic period of time.
  • Pathophysiology may be unclear.
  • Unpredictable prognosis
  • Is associated with a lesion that is not expected
    to heal.
  • Chronic cancer pain or chronic non-malignant pain.

Sources of Pain
Visceral Pain Muscloskeletal Neuropathic
Generalized pain related to visceral stretch. Described as sharp ache. Usually localized. Described as dull ache. Irritation of verve. Described as burning, sharp, shooting.
Classic referral pain. PT, massage, heat cold helpful. PT helpful.
Responds best to opioids. Some response w/opioids. Adjuvants helpful. NSAIDs/Steroids, muscle relaxers Opioids usually not helpful- only dull the pain. Adjuvants helpful Tricyclic AD, anti-convulsants.
Acute VS. Chronic Pain Cont
  • May be associated with sympathetic hyperactivity
    and anxiety.
  • Usually resolves
  • Treated with short-acting drugs.
  • May be associated with depressed mood, sleep
    disturbance and disability.
  • Treated with long-acting drugs and adjuvant

Pharmacology of Pain Management
  • Individualized- Based on the patients medical
    and pain histories.
  • Multi-modal- Targets multiple sites of action.
  • Optimize effects
  • Minimize adverse effects

Pharmacology of Pain Management Cont
  • Routes of Administration
  • Oral
  • Sublingual
  • Transmucosal
  • Transdermal
  • Parenteral IV, IM, SQ
  • Nebulized
  • Rectal
  • Epidural/Intrathecal (Morphine, Fentanyl)

Pharmacology of Pain Management Cont
  • How do Opioids work?
  • Opioids act on the opioid receptor sites and
    activate endogenous pain suppression systems in
    the CNS (Mu receptor sites).
  • Receptor sites are found in
  • Dorsal horn of the spinal cord
  • Pituitary gland
  • GI tract
  • Endogenous exogenous opioids control pain by
    locking onto opioid receptor sites and blocking
    the release of neurotransmitters.

Pharmacology of Pain Management Cont
  • How NSAIDs and Acetaminophen work?
  • Non-opioids include NSAIDs, Tylenol and Aspirin.
  • They act on the peripheral nerve endings at the
    site of injury altering the prostaglandin system.
  • NSAIDs have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Acetaminophen does NOT have an anti-inflammatory
    effect. Like ASA, it has analgesic and
    antipyretic effects.
  • Side effects
  • NSAIDs GI irritation, possible nephrotoxicity.
  • Acetaminophen can cause hepatoxicity.
  • Limit 4 grams/24hr

Pharmacology of Pain Management Cont
  • Short Acting Pain Medications
  • Provide analgesia within 30 min.
  • Diluadid, Morphine
  • Actiq-fastest acting oral medication- onset
    within 5 min. (transmucosal)
  • oral solution/Roxanol-elixir form of morphine.
  • Helpful for pts. with difficulty swallowing.
  • Titratable.
  • Oxycodone/ tablets- used for short-term therapy
    or supplemental dosing (breakthrough pain).
  • Compounds Tylenol 3, Hydrocodone-
    Lortab/Vicodin, Oxycodone- Percocet.
  • Propoxyphene- Darvon/Darvocet

Pharmacology of Pain Management Cont
  • Long Acting Opioids
  • Usually used for long-term pain.
  • For patients requiring frequent breakthrough
    dosed of opioids.
  • More predictable serum levels
  • Easier to use lower dosing intervals, improved

Pharmacology of Pain Management Cont
  • Meperidine
  • Has a metabolite that is 2x as potent as a
    convulsant and 1/2 as potent as an analgesic.
  • Breaks down to nomeperidine which has an active
    metabolite that accumulates w/multiple dosing.
  • Hepatic or renal failure and increases toxicity.
  • Accumulation of active metabolites can produce
    irritability, tremors, muscle twitching, jerking,
    agitation or seizures.

Common Nonopiod Analgesics
Drug Adult dose Considerations
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 650-975 mg q 4 hr Used for headaches, osteoarthritis, lacks peripheral anti-inflammatory activity of NSAIDs.
Aspirin 650-975 mg q 4 hr Used for headaches, osteoarthritis, general pain, antipyretic, inhibits platelet aggregation.
Ibuprofen 400 mg q 4-6 hr Antipyretic, Used for osteoarthritis, available as liquid
Indomethacin (Indocin) 150-200 mg/day Used for gout, antinflammatory, antirheumatic
Naproxen (Naprosyn) 500 mg initial dose, then 250 mg q 6-8 Used for gout, headaches, smooth muscle contraction, available in liquid
Adjuvant Analgesics
  • Nontraditional analgesics, most approved for
    other indications.
  • Multipurpose drugs
  • For muscloskeletal pain
  • Muscle relaxants (Baclofen, Zanaflex)
  • For neuropathic pain
  • Antidepressants- (Pamelor, Cymbalta)
  • Anticonvulsants- Topamax, Gabapentin, Lyrica
  • Approved for post-herpatic neuralgia, diabetic

Non-pharmacological Treatments
  • Rehabilitative such at PT
  • Psychological
  • Interventional
  • Nerve blocks
  • Trigger point injections
  • Complementary therapies
  • Acupuncture
  • Breathing
  • Relaxation /Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

Nursing Pain Assessment
  • Subjective Assessment
  • I have pain. Pt. complains of pain.
  • It is what the client says it is.
  • Location- Where?
  • Description- How does it feel?
  • Objective Assessment
  • Intensity- Rating scale
  • 0 ? pain
  • 10 worst possible pain
  • Duration- When did it start, How long does it
    last, Is it continuous or intermittent?

Nursing Pain Assessment
  • Objective Assessment cont.
  • Alleviating contributing factors
  • What makes the pain better or worse?
  • Associative factors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Altered LOC
  • Impact of pain
  • How does it affect their lives?
  • Past pain experiences
  • Recent surgery, chemical use or abuse

Nursing Pain Assessment
  • Objective Assessment cont.
  • Vital Signs
  • Face
  • Facial grimace
  • Clenched jaw
  • Muscle tone
  • Relaxed
  • Rigid
  • Vocalization
  • Moaning, crying, grunting, whimpering

Nursing Diagnosis
  • Alteration in Comfort
  • Impaired Gas Exchange
  • Alteration in Cardiac Output
  • Potential for Ineffective Airway Clearance
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired Physical Mobility
  • Ineffective Coping
  • Potential for Infection
  • Altered Bowel Elimination

Planning, Goal Setting Interventions
  • Alleviate Pain!!!!!!!! Improve Comfort.
  • By when?
  • From what to what? 0-10
  • Interventions
  • Pain Medication!!
  • Adjuvants
  • Positioning
  • Responsibility
  • Involve Family
  • Humor
  • Preventing Complications!!!!!!

Important Definitions
  • Tolerance- an adaptive process due to exposure to
    a drug over time. Results in a decrease response
    to a drugs effect over time.
  • Physical Dependence- a physiologic phenomenon
    that should be expected in persons with
    persistent use of certain drugs. Patients will
    experience a withdrawal syndrome if a drug is
    abruptly stopped, there is a rapid dose
    reduction, or if the person is given a reversal
    agent. Withdrawal can be prevented by gradual
  • Reversal Agents
  • Narcan- Opioids
  • Romazacon- Benzodiazapam

Important Definitions Cont.
  • Pseudoaddiction- This is not true addiction and
    is created by under treatment of pain. A term
    used to describe behaviors seen in persons who
    fear or who are experiencing uncontrolled pain
    and want to obtain medication for adequate pain
    relief. The clock-watching, requesting extra
    opioids, and demanding behaviors are eliminated
    when the pain is relieved.

Important Definitions Cont.
  • Addiction- A primary, chronic, neurobiological
    disease with genetic, psychosocial and
    environmental factors. Characteristics include
  • Impaired control over drug use
  • Compulsive use
  • Continued use despite harm
  • The need to use an opioid for effects other than
    for pain relief and craving.

Important Definitions Cont.
  • Breakthrough Pain-
  • Transitory increase in pain to greater than
    moderate intensity which occurs on top of the
    baseline pain.
  • Distinguished from
  • Continuous or uncontrolled pain
  • Acute episodic pain.

Pain Gerontologic Considerations
  • 45-80 of older adults have chronic pain.
  • Inadequately assessed and treated.
  • Common types osteoarthritis, low back pain and
    previous fracture sites.
  • Chronic pain can lead to
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Decreased mobility
  • Increased health care utilization
  • Physical social role dysfunction

Pain Gerontologic Considerations Cont.
  • Believe that pain is normal.
  • Nothing can be done.
  • Labeled as burdensome or bad pt.
  • Fear of drugs.
  • Pain tolerance DECREASES with age.
  • Cognitive, sensory-perceptual , and motor
    problems may impair ability to communicate or
    process information.
  • Post-stroke aphasia, paraplegia, dementia,
    delirium, vision, hearing impairments

Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Widespread, nonarticular muscloskeletal pain and
    fatigue with multiple tender points.
  • Non-degenerative, non-progressive
  • Effects over 6 million Americans
  • More women than men 20-55 years old.
  • Possible causes
  • Abnormal levels of serotonin, norepi and other
  • Hyperfunctioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adr
    enal axis (HPA).

Fibromyalgia Syndrome Treatment
  • Supportive management
  • NSAIDs
  • Tricyclic Anti-depressants or SSRIs
  • Well balanced diet
  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Financial concerns and support
  • Carefully graduated exercise program.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Disorder characterized by debilitating fatigue
    and a variety of associated complaints.
  • 3x more likely in women onset 25-45 years old.
  • Etiology unknown
  • Ideas
  • Viral infection usually precipitates the
  • Abnormal immune function.
  • Alterations in the CNS.
  • Depression usually occurs in patients.

Nursing Care of the Client with
Cancer End-of-Life Care
Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Cancer Background
  • A. Definition
  • 1. Family of complex diseases
  • 2. Affect different organs and organ systems
  • 3. Normal cells mutate into abnormal cells that
    take over tissue
  • 4. Eventually harm and destroy host
  • 5. Historically, cancer is a dreaded disease
  • B. Oncology
  • 1. Study of cancers
  • 2. Oncology nurses specialize in the care,
    treatment of clients with cancer

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Incidence and Prevalence
  • 1. Cancer accounts for about 25 of death on
    yearly basis
  • 2. Males 3 most common types of cancer are
    prostate, lung and bronchial, colorectal
  • 3. Females 3 most common types of cancer are
    breast, lung and bronchial, and colorectal

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Risk factors for cancer (some are controllable
    some are not)
  • 1. Heredity 5 10 of cancers documented with
    some breast and colon cancers
  • 2. Age 70 of all cancers occur in persons gt 65
  • 3. Lower socio-economic status
  • 4. Stress
  • 5 Diet certain preservatives in pickled, salted
    foods fried foods high-fat, low fiber foods
    charred foods, high fat foods, diet high in red
  • 6. Occupational risk exposure to know
    carcinogens, radiation, high stress
  • 7. Infections, especially specific organisms and
    organ (e.g. papillomavirus causing genital warts
    and leading to cervical cancer)
  • 8. Tobacco Use Lung, oral and laryngeal,
    esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, bladder cancers
  • 9. Alcohol Use also tied with smoking
  • 10. Sun Exposure (radiation) e.g. skin cancer

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Nursing role includes health promotion to lower
    the controllable risks
  • 1. Routine medical check up and screenings
  • 2. Client awareness to act if symptoms of cancer
  • 3. Screening examination recommendations by
    American Cancer Society specifics are made
    according to age and frequencies
  • a. Breast Cancer self-breast exam, breast
    examination by health care professionals,
    screening mammogram
  • b. Colon and Rectal Cancer fecal occult blood,
    flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy
  • c. Cervical, Uterine Cancer Papanicolaou (Pap)
  • d. Prostate Cancer digital rectal exam,
    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Physiology of Cancer
  • A. Background
  • 1. Normal Cell Growth includes two events
  • a. Replication of cellular DNA
  • b. Mitosis (cell division)

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 2. Cell cycle is under control of cyclins, and
    suppresor gene products which control process by
    working with enzymes
  • cyclins promote cell division
  • suppresor gene products limit cell
  • 3. Forms the basis of how some chemotherapeutic
    agents work against cancers

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Theories of Carcinogenesis (what causes cancer to
  • 1. Cellular Mutation
  • a. Cells begin to mutate (change the DNA to
    unnatural cell reproduction)
  • 2. Oncogenes/Tumor Suppressor Genes Abnormalities
  • a. Oncogenes are genes that promote cell
    proliferation and can trigger cancer
  • b. Tumor suppressor genes normally suppress
    oncogenes but are damaged
  • 3. Exposure to Known Carcinogens
  • a. Act by directly altering the cellular DNA
  • b. Act by affecting the immune system

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 4. Viruses
  • viruses break the DNA chain and mutates the
    normal cells DNA
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Human papilloma virus
  • Hepatitis virus
  • 5. Drugs and Hormones
  • a. Sex hormones often affect cancers of the
    reproductive systems (estrogen in some breast
    cancers testosterone in prostate cancer)
  • b. Glucocorticoids and steroids alter immune

  • 6. Chemical Agents
  • a. Industrial and chemical
  • b. Can initiate and promote cancer
  • b. Examples hydrocarbons in soot arsenic in
    pesticides chemicals in tobacco
  • 7. Physical Agents
  • a. Exposure to radiation
  • Ionizing radiation found in x-rays, radium,
  • UV radiation
  • Sun, tanning beds
  • Immune function
  • Protects the body from cancerous cells
  • Increased rate of cancer in immunocompromised pts

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Neoplasms also called tumors (mass of new tissue
    that grows independently of surrounding organs
  • 1. Types of neoplasms
  • a. Benign
  • 1. Localized growths respond to bodys
    homeostatic controls
  • 2. Encapsulated
  • 3. Stop growing when they meet a boundary of
    another tissue
  • 4. Can be destructive
  • b. Malignant
  • 1. Have aggressive growth, rapid cell division
    outside the normal cell cycle
  • 2. Not under bodys homeostatic controls
  • 3. Cut through surrounding tissues causing
    bleeding, inflammation, necrosis (death) of tissue

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Malignant tumors can metastasize
  • a. Tumor cells travel through blood or lymph
    circulation to other body areas and invade
    tissues and organs there.
  • 1. Primary tumor the original site of the
  • 2. Secondary tumor (sites) areas where
    malignancy has spread i.e. metastasis (metastatic
  • 3. Common sites of metastasis are lymph nodes,
    liver, lungs, bones, brain
  • 4. 50 60 of tumors have metastasized by time
    primary tumor identified
  • b. Cancerous cells must avoid detection by immune

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • C. Malignant neoplasms can recur after surgical
    removal of primary and secondary tumors and other
  • D. Malignant neoplasms vary in differentiation.
  • a. Highly differentiated are more like the
    originating tissue
  • b. Undifferentiated neoplasms consist of immature
    cells with no resemblance to parent tissue and
    have no useful function
  • E. Malignant cells progress in deviation with
    each generation and do no stop growing and die,
    as do normal cells
  • F. Malignant cells are irreversible, i.e. do not
    revert to normal
  • G. Malignant cells promote their own survival by
    hormone production, cause vascular permeability
    angiogenesis divert nutrition from host cells

The steps of metastasis
Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Effects of Cancer
  • 1. Disturbed or loss of physiologic functioning,
    from pressure or obstruction
  • a. Anoxia and necrosis of organs
  • b. Loss of function bowel or bladder obstruction
  • c. Increased intracranial pressure
  • d. Interrupted vascular/venous blockage
  • e. Ascites
  • f. Disturbed liver functioning
  • G. Motor and sensory deficits
  • Cancer invades bone, brain or compresses nerves
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Airway obstruction
  • Decreased lung capacity

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 2. Hematologic Alterations Impaired function of
    blood cells
  • Secondary to any cancer that invades the bone
    marrow (leukemia)
  • May also be caused by the treatment
  • a. Abnormal wbcs impaired immunity
  • b. Diminished rbcs and platelets anemia and
    clotting disorders
  • 3. Infections fistula development and tumors may
    become necrotic erode skin surface
  • 4. Hemorrhage tumor erosion, bleeding, severe
  • 5. Anorexia-Cachexia Syndrome wasting away of
  • a. Unexplained rapid weight loss, anorexia with
    altered smell and taste
  • b. Catabolic state use of bodys tissues and
    muscle proteins to support cancer cell growth

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 6. Paraneoplastic Syndromes ectopic sites with
    excess hormone production
  • a. Parathyroid hormone (hypercalcemia)
  • b. Ectopic secretion of insulin (hypoglycemia)
  • c. Antidiuretic hormone (ADH fluid retention)
  • d. Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
  • 7. Pain major concern of clients and families
  • a. Types of cancer pain
  • 1. Acute symptom that led to diagnosis
  • 2. Chronic may be related to treatment or to
    progression of disease
  • b. Causes of pain
  • 1. Direct tumor involvement including metastatic
  • 2. Nerve compression
  • 3. Involvement of visceral organs

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 8. Physical Stress body tries to respond and
    destroy neoplasm
  • a. Fatigue
  • b. Weight loss
  • c. Anemia
  • d. Dehydration
  • e. Electrolyte imbalances
  • 9. Psychological Stress
  • a. Cancer equals death sentence
  • b. Guilt from poor health habits
  • c. Fear of pain, suffering, death

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Collaborative Care
  • A. Diagnostic Tests used to diagnose cancer
  • 1. Determine location of cancer
  • a. Xrays
  • b. Computed tomography
  • c. Ultrasounds
  • d. Magnetic resonance imaging
  • e. Nuclear imaging
  • f. Angiography
  • 2. Diagnosis of cellular type of can be done
    through tissue samples from biopsies, shedded
    cells (e.g. Papanicolaou smear) washings
  • a. Cytologic Examination tissue examined under
  • b. Identification System of Tumors
    Classification Grading -- Staging

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 1. Classification according to the tissue or
    cell of origin, e.g. sarcoma, from supportive
  • 2. Grading
  • a. Evaluates degree of differentiation and rate
    of growth
  • b. Grade 1 (least aggressive) to Grade 4 (most
  • 3. Staging
  • a. Relative tumor size and extent of disease
  • b. TNM (Tumor size Nodes lymph node
    involvement Metastases)

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 3. Tumor markers specific proteins which
    indicate malignancy
  • a. PSA (Prostatic-specific antigen) prostate
  • b. CEA (Carcinoembryonic antigen) colon cancer
  • c. Alkaline Phosphatase bone metastasis
  • 4 Direct Visualization
  • a. Sigmoidoscopy
  • b. Cystoscopy
  • c. Endoscopy
  • d. Bronchoscopy
  • e. Exploratory surgery lymph node biopsies to
    determine metastases

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Treatment Goals depending on type and stage of
  • A. Cure
  • 1. Recover from specific cancer with treatment
  • 2. Alert for reoccurrence
  • 3. May involve rehabilitation with physical and
    occupational therapy
  • B. Control of symptoms and progression of cancer
  • 1. Continued surveillance
  • 2. Treatment when indicated (e.g. some bladder
    cancer, prostate cancer)
  • C. Palliation of symptoms may involve terminal
    care if clients cancer is not responding to

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Treatment Options (depend on type of cancer)
    alone or with combination
  • A. Chemotherapy
  • 1. Effects are systemic and kills the metastatic
  • 2. Often combinations of drugs in specific
    protocols over varying time periods
  • Much more effective then a single agent
  • Consider the timing of the nadir of each drug
  • The time when the bone marrow activity and WBC
    counts are at their lowest levels after chemo
  • Different times for different drugs

  • 3. Cell-kill hypothesis with each cell cycle a
    percentage of cancerous cells are killed but some
    remain repeating chemo kills more cells until
    those left can be handled by bodys immune system

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • B. Classes of Chemotherapy Drugs
  • 1. Alkylating agents
  • 1. Action create defects in tumor DNA
  • 2. Examples Nitrogen Mustard, Cisplatin
  • 2. Antimetabolites
  • 1. Action similar to metabolites needed for
    vital cell processes
  • Counterfeit metabolites interfere with cell
  • 2. Examples Methotrexate 5 fluorouracil
  • 3. Toxic Effects nausea, vomiting, stomatitis,
    diarrhea, alopecia, leukopenia
  • 3. Antitumor Antibiotics
  • 1. Action interfere with DNA
  • 2. Examples Actinomycin D, Bleomycin
  • 3. Toxic Effect damage to cardiac muscle

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 4. Antimiotic agents
  • 1. Action Prevent cell division
  • 2. Examples Vincristine, Vinblastine
  • 3. Toxic Effects affects neurotransmission,
    alopecia, bone marrow depression
  • 5. Hormone agonist
  • 1. Action large amounts of hormones upset the
    balance and alter the uptake of other hormones
    necessary for cell division
  • 2. Example estrogen, progestin, androgen

  • 6. Hormone Antagonist
  • 1. Action block hormones on hormone-binding
    tumors (breast, prostate, endometrium cause
    tumor regression
  • Decreasing the amount of hormones can decrease
    the cancer growth rate
  • Does not cure, but increases survival rates
  • 2. Examples Tamoxifen (breast) Flutamide
  • 3. Toxic Effects altered secondary sex

  • 7. Hormone inhibitors
  • Aromatase inhibitors (Arimidex, Aromasin)
  • Prevents production of aromatase which is needed
    for estrogen production
  • Used in post menopausal women
  • Side effects
  • Masculinizing effects in women
  • Fluid retention

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Effects of Chemotherapy
  • a. Tissues (fast growing) frequently affected
  • b. Examples mucous membranes, hair cells, bone
    marrow, specific organs with specific agents,
    reproductive organs (all fetal toxic, impair
    ability to reproduce).
  • Administration of chemotherapeutic agents
  • a. Trained and certified personnel, according to
    established guidelines
  • b. Preparation
  • 1. Protect personnel from toxic effects
  • Drugs absorbed through skin and mucous membranes
  • Protective clothing and extreme care
  • 2. Extreme care for correct dosage double check
    with physician orders, pharmacists preparation
  • c. Proper management clients excrement

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • d. Routes
  • 1. Oral
  • 2. Body cavity (intraperitoneal or intrapleural)
  • 3. Intravenous
  • Use of vascular access devices because of threat
    of extravasation (leakage into tissues) and
    long-term therapy
  • If the drug is a vessicant it may result in pain,
    infection and tissue loss

  • e. Types of vascular access devices
  • 1. PICC lines (peripherally inserted central
  • 2. Tunnelled catheters (Hickman, Groshong)
  • 3. Surgically implanted ports accessed with 90
    angle needle

Hickman Catheter
Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Managing side effects of chemotherapy
  • A. Nausea and vomiting
  • 80 of patients will develop it
  • Antiemetics such as Zofran, Tigan, Compazine as
    well as Ativan to control the symptoms
  • Monitor for dehydration and need for IV fluids

  • B. Bone marrow suppression
  • Decreased number of RBC
  • Leads to hypoxia, fatigue
  • Hgb 9.5-10 gm/dl require oral iron supplements
  • Hgb below 8 gm/dl require transfusion
  • May use Epogen to stimulate RBC production

  • Decrease number of WBC (normal 4,500-11,000
    mm3) especially neutrophils (normal 3,000-7,000
  • Neutropenia-count below 2000
  • Pt at extreme risk for infection
  • May order granulocyte colony stimulating factor
    (leukine) to stimulate bone marrow to increase
    WBC count
  • Neutropenic precautions
  • Private room
  • Good handwashing
  • Monitor temp q 4 hours, monitor for chills,
  • Limit visitors to healthy adults
  • No flowers or plants
  • Monitor neutrophil count

  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Drop in platlet count (normal 150,000-400,000/mm3)
    below 100,000
  • Test pt for bleeding in stool and urine
  • Avoid punctures for IV or IM
  • Handle pt gently
  • Use electric razor
  • Avoid placing foley or rectal thermometers
  • Avoid oral trauma with soft bristle brushes,
    avoid flossing, avoid hard candy
  • Watch for ALOC, pupil changes that might indicate
    intracranial bleeds
  • Stool softeners to avoid straining

  • C. Mucocitis
  • Inflammation and ulceration of mucous membranes
    and entire GI tract
  • Rinse mouth with ½ normal saline and ½ peroxide
    every 12 hours
  • Topical analgesic medication
  • Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol
  • Avoid spicy or hard food
  • Watch nutritional status

  • D. Alopecia
  • Hair loss
  • 2-3 weeks after treatment is started
  • Affects all the hair, including eyebrows,
  • Within 4-8 weeks after treatment hair begins to
    grow back
  • Before hair loss, have the pt pick out a wig that
    is similar to hair color

  • E. Peripheral neuropathy
  • Numbness and tingling to fingers and toes in a
    glove and sock pattern
  • May cause gait and possible fall problems
  • F. Provide emotional and spiritual support to
    patient and families

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Surgery
  • 1. Diagnosis, staging, and sometimes treatment of
  • 2. May be prophylaxis or removal of at risk
    tissue or organ prior to development of cancer
    (breast cancer)
  • 3. Involves removal of body part, organ,
    sometimes with altered functioning (e.g.
  • 4. Debulking (decrease size of) tumors in
    advanced cases
  • 5. Reconstruction and rehabilitation (e.g. breast
    implant post mastectomy)
  • 6. Palliative surgery to improve the quality
    of life
  • Removal of tumor tissue that is causing pain or
  • 5. Psychological support to deal with surgery as
    well as cancer diagnosis

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy
  • 1. Treatment of choice for some tumors to kill
    or reduce tumor, relieve pain or obstruction
  • Destroy cancer cells with minimal exposure to
    normal cells
  • Cells die or are unable to divide
  • 2. Delivery
  • a. Teletherapy (external) radiation delivered in
    uniform dose to tumor
  • Beam radiation
  • b. Brachytherapy delivers high dose to tumor and
    less to other tissues radiation source is placed
    in tumor or next to it in the form of seeds
  • Radiation source within the patient so pt emits
    radiation for a period of time and is a hazard to
  • c. Combination

  • 3. Goals
  • a. Maximum tumor control with minimal damage to
    normal tissues
  • b. Caregivers must protect selves by using
    shields, distancing and limiting time with
    client, following safety protocols
  • Private room
  • Caution sign on the door for radioactive material
  • Dosimeter film badge by staff
  • No pregnant staff
  • Limit visitors to ½ hour per day and keep them at
    least 6 ft from the source

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • 4. Treatment Schedules
  • a. Planned according to radiosensitivity of
    tumor, tolerance of client
  • b. Monitor blood cell counts
  • 5. Side Effects
  • a. Skin (external radiation) blanching,
    erythema, sloughing, breakdown
  • Use mild soak
  • Dry skin with a patting motion, not rubbing
  • Dont use powders or lotions unless prescribed by
  • Wear soft clothing over the site
  • Avoid the sun and heat

  • b. Ulcerated mucous membranes pain, lack of
    saliva (xerostoma)
  • c. Gastrointestinal nausea and vomiting,
    diarrhea, bleeding, sometimes fistula formation
  • d. Radiation pneumonitis
  • 1-3 months after treatment
  • Cough, fever
  • Treated with steroids to decrease inflammation

  • Gene therapy
  • experimental
  • May insert gene into the tumor cells to make them
    more susceptible to being killed by antiviral
  • May insert genes for cytokines that increase
    their effectiveness in killing cancer cells

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • F. Bone Marrow Transplantation and Peripheral
    Blood Stem Cell Transplantation
  • 1. Stimulation of nonfunctioning marrow or
    replace bone marrow
  • 2. Common treatment for leukemias
  • G. Pain Control
  • 1. Includes pain directly from cancer, treatment,
    or unrelated
  • 2. Necessary for continuing function or comfort
    in terminally ill clients
  • 3. Goal is maximum relief with minimal side
  • 4. Multiple combinations of analgesics (narcotic
    and non-narcotic) and adjuvants such as steroids
    or antidepressants includes around the clock
    (ATC) schedule with additional medications for
    break-through pain
  • 5. Multiple routes of medications
  • 6. May involve injections of anesthetics into
    nerve, surgical severing of nerves radiation
  • 7. May need to progress to stronger pain
    medications as pain increases and client develops
    tolerance to pain medication

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Nursing Diagnoses for Clients with Cancer
  • A. Anxiety
  • 1. Therapeutic interactions with client and
    family community resources such as American
    Cancer Society, I Can Cope
  • 2. Availability of community resources for
    terminally ill (Hospice care in-patient, home
  • B. Disturbed Body Image
  • 1. Includes loss of body parts (e.g.
    amputations) appearance changes (skin, hair)
    altered functions (e.g. colostomy) cachexic
    appearance, loss of energy, ability to be
  • 2. Fear of rejection, stigma
  • C. Anticipatory Grieving
  • 1. Facing death and making preparations for
    death will be consideration
  • 2. Offer realistic hope that cancer treatment may
    be successful

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • D. Risk for Infection
  • E. Risk for Injury
  • 1. Organ obstruction
  • 2. Pathological fractures
  • F. Altered Nutrition less than body requirements
  • 1. Consultation with dietician, lab evaluation of
    nutritional status
  • 2. Managing problems with eating anorexia,
    nausea and vomiting
  • 3. May involve use of parenteral nutrition
  • G. Impaired Tissue Integrity
  • 1. Oral, pharyngeal, esophageal tissues (due to
    chemotherapy, bleeding due to low platelet
    counts, fungal infections such as thrush)
  • 2. Teach inspection, frequent oral hygiene,
    specific non-irritating products, thrush control

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • Oncologic Emergencies
  • A. Pericaridal Effusion and Neoplastic Cardiac
  • 1. Concern compression of heart by fluid in
    pericardial sac, compromised cardiac output
  • 2. Treatment pericardiocentesis

  • B. Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
  • 1. obstruction of venous system with increased
    venous pressure and stasis facial and neck edema
    with slow progression to respiration distress
  • Late signs are cyanosis, decreased cardiac output
    and hypotension
  • 2. Treatment respiratory support decrease tumor
    size with radiation or chemotherapy

Compression of the superior vena cava in SVC
  • C. Sepsis and Septic Shock
  • 1. Early recognition of infection
  • Patients at risk secondary to low WBC and
    impaired immune system
  • 2. Treatment prompt intervention with
    antibiotics and vasopressors

  • D. DIC disseminated intravascular coagulation
  • Triggered by severe illness, usually sepsis in
    cancer patients
  • Abnormal clotting uses up existing clotting
    factors and platelets quickly then the pt
  • Mortality rate is 70
  • Prevention of sepsis is key

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • E. Spinal Cord Compression
  • 1. Pressure from expanding tumor or vertebral
    collapse can cause irreversible paraplegia
  • 2. Back pain initial symptom with progressive
    paresthesia and paralysis
  • Paralysis is usually permanent
  • 3. Treatment early detection
  • High dose corticosteroid to decrease the swelling
  • radiation or surgical decompression

  • F. Obstructive Uropathy
  • 1. Concern blockage of urine flow undiagnosed
    can result in renal failure
  • 2. Treatment restore urine flow

  • G. Hypercalcemia
  • 1. High calcium (normal 9-10.5) usually from
    bone metastases
  • 2. May also come from cancer of the lung, head,
    neck, kidney and lymph nodes that secrete
    parathyroid hormone that causes the bone to
    release calcium
  • 2. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness,
    polyuria, constipation, progressing to coma,
  • 3. Treatment
  • restore fluids with intravenous saline which
    also increases the excretion of calcium
  • loop diuretics increase calcium excretion
  • Calcium chelators such as mithracin
  • Inhibit calcium resorption from the bone with
    calcitonin, diphosphonate

  • H. Tumor Lysis Syndrome
  • 1. Occurs with rapid necrosis of tumor cells with
  • When tumor cells die they release potassium and
  • Potassium (norm 3.5-5.5) elevation causes cardiac
    arrhthymias, muscle weakness, twitching, cramps
  • Purines convert to uric acid which causes renal
    failure, flank pain, gout when elevated above 10
  • Hyperphosphatemia with secondary to hypocalcemia
    causes heart block, HTN, renal failure

  • Treatment
  • Hydration
  • Instruct pt to increase fluid intake before and
    after chemo
  • May need IV hydration
  • Diuretics to increase urine flow
  • Allopurinol to increase uric acid excretion
  • May need dialysis

Nursing Care of the Client with Cancer
  • I. SIADH (Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic
    Hormone Secretion)
  • 1. Ectopic ADH production from tumor leads to
    excessive hyponatremia
  • 2. holds onto too much fluid which decreases
    sodium level (normal 135-145)
  • 3. Symptoms
  • Weakness, muscle cramps, fatigue, ALOC, headache,
  • 2. Treatment restore sodium level
  • Fluid restriction
  • Increase sodium
  • Antibiotic demeclocycline works in opposition to
  • Limits ADH effect on distal renal tubules so they
    can excrete water