Clinical Manifestations of Cancer
- Clinical manifestations of cancer include pain, fatigue, cachexia, anemia, leucopenia, thrombocytopenia, and infection.
- Pain generally is associated with the late stages of cancer. It can be caused by pressure, obstruction, invasion of a structure sensitive to pain, stretching, tissue destruction, and inflammation.
- Key to adequate pain control is the continual evaluation of pain as reported by the individual.
- Fatigue is the most frequently reported symptom of cancer and cancer treatment.
- Cachexia (loss of appetite, weakness, inability to maintain weight, taste alterations, altered metabolism) leads to protein-calorie malnutrition and progressive wasting.
- Anemia associated with cancer usually occurs because of malnutrition, long-term bleeding and resultant iron deficiency, chemotherapy, and malignancies in the blood-forming organs.
- Leukopenia is usually a result of chemotherapy, which is toxic to bone marrow, or radiation, which kills circulating leukocytes.
- Thrombocytopenia is usually the result of chemotherapy or malignancy in the bone marrow.
- Infection may be caused by leucopenia, immunosuppression, or debility associated with advanced disease.