Role Of Nurses And Midwives In Cancer Prevention & Intervention

On this article you will read on role of nurses and midwives in cancer prevention and intervention, you will understand the role of nurses and midwives in prevention of cancer and the intention they provide


Cancer is any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division resulting in damage to the immune system; it may spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream. It is the second leading cause of mortality globally. Read On Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers


There are more than 100 different types of cancer. A tumor is an abnormal mass of cells. Tumors can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Below are the most commonest types of cancer in our community…

  • đź“ŚBreast Cancer
  • đź“ŚLung Cancer
  • đź“ŚProstate Cancer
  • đź“ŚColorectal Cancer
  • đź“ŚLiver Cancer
  • đź“ŚNon Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • đź“ŚPancreatic Cancer
  • đź“ŚOvarian Cancer
  • đź“ŚBladder Cancer

Cancer base on tissue affected includes;

  • âś…Carcinoma
  • âś…Sarcoma
  • âś…Myeloma
  • âś…Leukemia
  • âś…Lymphoma
  • âś…Mixed Cancer just to mention but few.


Cancer has no specific cause , the etiology is unknown, below are the predisposing factors of cancer;

  • đź“ŚMutations Cause (genetic)
  • đź“ŚEnvironment Cause e.g. UV radiation, air pollutants
  • đź“ŚMicrobes Cause e.g. H. Pylori, HPV, hep. B & C, HIV
  • đź“ŚLifestyle and Diet Causes e.g. Eating a poor diet, inactivity, obesity, heavy alcohol use, tobacco use including smoking, and exposure to chemicals and toxins are all associated with greater cancer risk.
  • đź“ŚAging as a result of tissue degeneration.


Every cancer and every individual is unique. Cancer symptoms and signs depend on the size and location of the cancer as well as the presence or absence of metastasis. Cancer often has no specific symptoms, so it is important that people limit their risk factors and undergo appropriate cancer screening. Below are some common signs and symptoms of cancer;

  • đź“ŚUncontrolled outgrowth
  • đź“ŚHepatomegaly
  • đź“ŚLymphadenopathy
  • đź“ŚPersistent cough or blood-tinged saliva
  • đź“ŚA change in bowel habits
  • đź“ŚOncology Nurses sometimes see pencil-thin stools with colon cancer.
  • đź“ŚOccasionally, cancer exhibits continuous diarrhea.
  • đź“ŚBlood in the stool
  • đź“ŚBreast lump or breast discharge
  • đź“ŚLumps in the testicles
  • đź“ŚJaundice
  • đź“ŚBlood in the urine
  • đź“ŚHoarseness
  • đź“ŚPersistent lumps or swollen glands
  • đź“ŚDifficulty swallowing is a common problem, especially in elderly people, and has many causes.
  • đź“ŚContinued itching in the anal or genital area
  • đź“ŚNonhealing sores
  • đź“ŚHeadaches
  • đź“ŚPain e.g Back pain, pelvic pain, bloating, or indigestion
  • đź“ŚFractures and etc


âś…Physical Examination âś…Laboratory test e.g biopsy âś…Radiological test


  • âś…Disturb body Images
  • âś…Acute pain
  • âś…Ineffective breathing pattern
  • âś…Imbalance Nutrition less than the body requirements
  • âś…Deficient fluid volume etc


Nurses use the stages of cancer to classify cancer according to its size, location, and extent of spread. Staging helps doctors determine the prognosis and treatment for cancer. The TNM staging system classifies cancers according to:

  • âś…Tumor (T): Primary tumor size and/or extent
  • âś…Nodes (N): Spread of cancer to lymph nodes in the regional area of the primary tumor
  • âś…Metastasis (M): Spread of cancer to distant sites away from the primary tumor
  • Some cancers, including those of the brain, spinal cord, bone marrow (lymphoma), blood (leukemia), and female reproductive system, do not receive a TNM classification. Instead, these cancers are classified according to a different staging systems.


The TNM classification of a cancer usually correlates to one of the following five stages.

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  • đź“ŚStage 0: This refers to cancer that is “in situ,” meaning that cancerous cells are confined to their site of origin. This type of cancer has not spread and is not invading other tissues.
  • đź“ŚStage I – Stage III: These higher stages of cancer correspond to larger tumors and/or greater extent of disease. Cancers in these stages may have spread beyond the site of origin to invade regional lymph nodes, tissues, or organs.
  • đź“ŚStage IV: This type of cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes, tissues, or organs in the body far away from the site of origin.


The Nurses and midwives should educate, perform and create awareness using flyers, social media, seminars, webinars and etc on the prevention and risk for cancer and the roles below to the general public.

  • âś…Serving Medication:- proven to reduce risk of breast and colon cancers in those at increased risk.
  • âś…Lifestyle Choices:- such as avoiding or quiting tobacco, limit alcohol intake, avoid carcinogens, keep active and avoid obesity.
  • âś…Treatment for infections:- known to decrease cancer risk , including hepatitis C, HIV, H. Pylori etc.
  • âś…Screening Tests:- that allow removal of precancerous lesions such as colon polyps and also for early treatment.
  • âś…Vaccines to protect:- vaccine against infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Hepatitis B & C.
  • âś…Surgery:- to remove the tissue at risk, such as woman with increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • âś…Patient Assessment
  • âś…Patient Education
  • âś…Coordination of Care
  • âś…Direct Patient Care
  • âś…Symptom Management
  • âś…Supportive Care


  • đź“ŚSurgery
  • đź“ŚRadiation Therapy
  • đź“ŚChemotherapy Procedure
  • đź“ŚTargeted or Biological Therapies
  • đź“ŚHematopoietic Stem Cell Transplants
  • đź“ŚCryosurgery
  • đź“ŚPhotodynamic Therapy


In conclusion Cancer is more curable when detected early. Although some cancers develop completely without symptoms, the disease can be particularly devastating if you ignore symptoms because you do not think that these symptoms might represent cancer. Cancer often has no specific symptoms, so it is important that people limit their risk factors and undergo appropriate cancer screening. Most cancer screening is specific to certain age groups and your primary care Nurse will know what screening to perform depending on your age. Nevertheless prevention is better than cure.

Written By: Std. Nr. Reuben Markus Zirahgi Student of Nursing Dept., University of Maiduguri.

Edited By: Nr. Dathini Hamina RN., RM., BNSc., PGDE.,MSc., Lecturer Nursing Dept. Unimaid.

Date: 4th February, 2020.
            World Cancer Day
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  1. Comfort Oriko says:

    Thanks so much for puting this important write up together to create awareness about cancer disease. How ever, I will love to have more information on cervical cancer specifically, as the concentration was on ovarian cancer only though, HPV and cryosurgery associated with cervical cancer was mentioned in passing. This is the area I am currently working with and the commonest that is affecting women.