Cancer Treatment and Recovery at Home
“Cancer” is the generic term for a group of diseases identified by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. While cancer can certainly be devastating, with modern medicine the fight against cancer is a battle you can win. Allegiance Home Health wants to be your ally in this fight.
The Allegiance Difference
Our caring team of professionals will help you achieve the highest quality of life by developing with you a personalized plan of care. This plan of care aids in managing the symptoms and side effects that can negatively impact your daily life while fighting the disease.
We use a multidisciplinary approach of nurses and therapists for your care to assist you in achieving the highest quality of life. Our goal is to manage the symptoms while you are receiving treatment in the comfort of your home.
Our compassionate nursing staff will be at your side as you manage treatment, medication, and the side effects you may experience. They will teach you pain management strategies to alleviate your discomfort.
Our physical therapists will develop a personalized therapy plan that will improve your strength and endurance. The therapy will also reduce the fatigue that is associated with the medical treatments used to fight cancer. Physical strength will lessen the effects of treatment, and help you bounce back more quickly after each round.
More About Cancer
Cancer can occur anywhere in the body. About thirteen million Americans have cancer and more than one million are diagnosed each year. Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Normal cells grow and divide to help the body function properly. Cells die when they become old or damaged and new cells replace them.
Cancer develops when the body’s normal control mechanism goes awry. Old cells do not die and cells grow out of control, forming new abnormal cells (cancer cells). These extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor. Some cancers such as leukemia rarely form tumors. Instead these cancer cells invade the blood and blood forming organs and circulate through other tissues where they grow.
The presence of cancer can present signs and symptoms. However in the early stages of cancer there may be no symptoms but eventually a malignant tumor will grow large enough to be produce symptoms. As the cancer continues to grow it may press on nerves and produce pain, penetrate blood vessels and cause bleeding, or interfere with the function of a body organ or system. The signs and symptoms that may be associated with, but not specific to cancers are:
- Lump or thickening that can be felt under the skin
- Weight changes, including unintended gain or loss
- Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Persistent cough or hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
- Persistent unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Unexplained and persistent fevers or night sweats
If you have any persistent signs or symptoms you need to make an appointment with your physician for a medical examination. Early diagnosis and treatment will provide you with a better chance of a positive prognosis.
There are five main categories of cancer:
- Carcinomas begin in the skin or tissues lining the internal organs
- Sarcomas develop in the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle or other connective tissues
- Leukemia begins in the blood and bone marrow
- Lymphomas start in the immune system
- Central nervous system cancers develop in the brain and spinal cord
Treatment options vary dependent on the type of cancer, its stage and if the cancer has spread and your general overall health. The three main courses of treatment are:
- Surgery: directly removing the tumor
- Chemotherapy: using drugs to kill cancer cells
- Radiation therapy: using x-rays to kill cancer cells
The goal of treatment is to kill as many cancerous cells while minimizing damage to healthy normal cells. Treatment can consist of using only one course of treatment choice or may have a combination of courses such as radiation and chemotherapy. Treatment can also consist of all three options. For example someone may have chemotherapy and radiation prior to having surgery to remove the tumor.
All three treatments require recovery time and home health care is often used to make certain your recovery is smooth and comfortable.
During and after your cancer treatment you may experience side effects from the disease itself or from the treatment for the disease. Some of the side effects that may be experienced are mouth sores, dry mouth, poor appetite, change in taste, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, hair loss, fatigue and weakness, pain and change in cognition such as experiencing forgetfulness or trouble concentrating.
Not only do these side effects impact your quality of life but they become a compounded problem when treatment is interrupted because of being hospitalized as result of exacerbation (worsening) of side effects. For example someone receiving chemotherapy may suffer from severe nausea and vomiting that results in them being dehydrated or malnourished and then they must be admitted to hospital to treat the dehydration and malnutrition.
Home health will monitor and prevent exacerbation whenever possible.
Let Us Help
Being informed that you have cancer brings many changes to your life. You now have new physicians, multiple appointments with health care providers, new treatments that may result in physical changes in your appearance and unpleasant side effects from treatment and/or symptoms from the cancer. You and your loved ones may be experiencing anxiety wondering if the treatments are effective against your cancer.
Let our dedicated caring staff assist you in your fight against cancer. Our compassionate home health aides can assist you in maintaining your hydration and nutritional status by preparing nutritious meals. They can assist you with your personal care, transportation, running errands, light housekeeping so you can conserve your energy for those activities you enjoy. Our caring home health aides will serve as source of companionship during your illness. Our skilled professionals will assist you in coping with challenges of cancer so that you can enjoy life all in the comfortable surroundings of your home.
Allegiance is our name, and our allegiance is with you and your family as you fight cancer.