Cancer: Overview (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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    00:01 Hi, welcome to our overview of cancer.

    00:04 After this video, you're gonna have a basic understanding of how cancer works and the language we use to describe it.

    00:11 So I'm gonna talk about the ten most important concepts that every nurse needs to know about cancer.

    00:17 We'll do a basic definition of cancer, we'll talk about how cancer cells are different than non-cancer cells, we'll talk about the differences between malignant tumors and benign tumors and one of the worst places to have a benign tumor.

    00:30 We'll talk about how cancer cells are bullies and they can talk good cells into doing bad things like helping tumors.

    00:37 We'll look at the evasion abilities of cancer cells, how they can avoid the law enforcers of the immune system.

    00:43 3 ways cancer is genetic, we'll look at 3 genes that are drivers of cancer and what we call them when they turn to the dark side.

    00:52 We'll look at metastasis and how we named metastatic cancers.

    00:55 We'll look at tissue changes that aren't cancer but might become cancer and the progression from normal to hyperplasia to dysplasia, possibly to cancer, or not.

    01:06 I know that sounds confusing but hang with us.

    01:08 Even though there's more than 100 types of cancer, you'll learn 8 commonly used names of cancer including adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma and more Ready? Let's get started.

    01:23 Okay, so let's start with number one, what is cancer? I know you've heard that word multiple times but I want you as a health care provider to really understand what we're talking about.

    01:34 So cancer is a collection of related diseases.

    01:38 Now normally cells are very orderly.

    01:40 Look at the normal picture there, they're very orderly they follow rules, they have processes.

    01:46 They divide, they clean up damaged cells but when you start mutating, you start messing with all those systems because cancer cells don't follow the rules.

    01:56 Remember they're like big dumb bullies.

    01:59 They were talking about malignancies and tumors.

    02:02 Okay, so look at those pictures .

    02:05 You've got normal cells, do you see mutations? things are looking a little unusual then that mutated cell starts dividing, then you have movement into surrounding tissues.

    02:14 This is when it starts to become an invasive tumor.

    02:17 Now as those new blood vessels grow, the mutated cells will spread via the blood and the lymph vessels.

    02:24 That's when it's metastasis.

    02:27 Okay, so one more time I want to go back through that with you.

    02:30 Normal cells - everybody is in a row, they're playing nice, they for the rules.

    02:35 Now you got a cell that goes rogue, it mutates and that cell divides then it starts moving into surrounding tissues, becoming invasive.

    02:44 Now you end up with it spreading, right and it's spreading between your blood and your lymph vessels, that's metastasis.

    02:52 Now we've got big problems when cancer becomes metastasis.

    02:56 So let's look again, and break it down, look at cancer versus non-cancer cells.

    03:01 So think of them as normal.

    03:03 Look they're small, they're uniform in shape, they have nuclei with a relatively large cytoplasmic volume.

    03:10 Look at the green one, so we put the normal cells in green for "go" - that's good, that's what we want.

    03:16 We've put the cancer cells more in a red shade.

    03:19 Look at the two pictures.

    03:20 Look at how this one is big, it's got a weird shaped-nuclei with really small cytoplasmic volume.

    03:27 So those are the differences.

    03:29 Have that picture in your mind, the normal cell looks really perfect, round, the nuclei is right-shaped and you got a lot of cytoplasmic volume.

    03:39 Cancer cell - weird nucleus and less cytoplasmic volume.

    03:44 Now it may have a differentiated cell structures, you've got normal presentation of cell surface markers.

    03:49 This is a cell that can do what it's intended to do.

    03:53 Look at the cancer cell.

    03:55 It's all funky looking, right? It doesn't have normalized, specialized features.

    04:00 It's got this weird expression of certain cell markers that's why it looks pretty ominous with those spiky things coming off.

    04:07 Now, the normal cells are of the same size, same shape and they're arranged in the right order.

    04:14 Look at the cancer cells, all different kinds of sizes and shapes they're definitely disorganised, looks like the trunk of somebody's car in nursing school, alright.

    04:23 Okay, so lower level of dividing cells and the normal cells, and everything is clearly defined, they're following the rules.

    04:30 But in cancer, it's a bigger number of dividing cells, they're not well defined and they don't follow the boundaries, they don't stay where they're supposed to stay.

    04:40 That's a lot of information, should you memorize it? I wouldn't recommend it, we just want to give you a picture that normal cells, look they have same size, same shape, they got a lot of cytoplasm, they follow the rules, they're very orderly.

    04:54 Cancer cells, big dumb bullies.

    04:57 They're weirdly shaped, they're spiky, they don't follow the rules and they grow and grow and grow.

    05:03 So the cancer cells are less specialized, we already talked about that.

    05:08 They are less distinct cell types and they don't function as well, they just run rampant or kind of rogue.

    05:14 They don't follow the division rules, they don't follow programmed cell death, they just keep going and going and going.

    05:20 They can also influence the other cells, they'll develop a tumor blood supply so they talk other cells into supplying blood to their nastiness.

    05:29 They can also evade and suppress an immune system so that's how they can avoid what normally can take out these nasty cells.

    05:36 Cancer cells have special abilities to avoid them or to suppress your immune system.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Cancer: Overview (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Cancer – Med-Surg Nursing.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Large, variable-shaped nuclei
    2. Loss of normalized, specialized features
    3. Variation of cell size and shape
    4. Many dividing cells with poorly defined boundaries
    5. Small, uniformly shaped cells
    1. Small, uniformly shaped nuclei
    2. Regular presentation of cell surface markers
    3. Uniform cell size and shape characteristic to specific tissue
    4. Lower numbers of dividing cells that are demarcated
    5. Disorganized arrangement of various cell sizes
    1. Being less specialized and distinct
    2. Unstructured with no programmed cell destruction
    3. Developing a tumor blood supply
    4. Evading and suppressing the immune system
    5. Prohibiting blood flow and oxygenation

    Author of lecture Cancer: Overview (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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