Amanda Cajigas – Independent Project

Amanda Cajigas – Independent Project

Class of 2017

Introduction to Topic

Cancer is a disease that develops due to the abnormal division of cells. It is a growing problem throughout the United States, and almost every person is affected by it in some way. It is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., and on average about 564,800 Americans are expected to die from cancer each year (breast). This topic of cancer is very important to me, because many of my family members have been diagnosed with a wide variety of cancers. Two of which had lost their battle with cancer due to late detection. One type of cancer I have developed an interest in is breast cancer. This is a disease that is predicted to take the life of over 40,000 men and women annually (breast). By the end of this year my goal is to gain knowledge about this topic and find a way to make patients lives easier after treatment.

Project Description

For my project I conducted hours of research in order to understand cancer on a deeper level. One of the most important topics I studied was survivorship. This is a program that is designed to help cancer survivors who are now in remission. On days my mentor and I saw patients we would review a patient “care plan” before meeting with them. This care plan includes a summary of the patient’s diagnosis and treatment that took place (your). After researching the patient’s specific diagnosis and the treatments provided to the patient we would meet with them and discuss their plan with them. However one problem that I noticed was occurring was that some patients didn’t show up to their appointments. On these days I would still review the patient’s care plan and then I would continue doing research on my own, or read articles provided to me by my mentor. Not knowing the reason for patients missing their appointments, whether they forgot about the appointment, or chose not to show up, I decided to try to create a way to counteract this problem. In order to make things easier for patients I decided I would create an app that had appointment reminders so that they would receive an alert a few days before they were due for an appointment. I believe this product would be useful for younger, tech-savvy people. As long as they have a smartphone their care plan can be at their fingertips.

Experience Description

For my project I chose to shadow a nurse practitioner in the cancer department of Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. Going into this project I thought that I had known most of the basics to cancer, being that it is a topic that I had covered a few times before in school. Once I began shadowing a nurse who worked in the cancer department, I soon learned that I didn’t know much about this disease at all. Majority of my hours had involved researching a number of topics through reliable websites and reading articles recommended to me by my mentor. I was able to learn, and am still continuing to learn new facts about cancer each day. Topics my mentor and I researched were the basics of cancer, treatment, staging and types of cancer. We chose to solely focus on breast cancer in order to narrow in on a specific topic, since cancer is such a broad topic. Throughout this time I had the opportunity to learn about something called survivorship. Most people don’t know what survivorship is unless they have been directly affected by cancer themselves. This is a program that is used to help cancer survivors to adjust to their new (healthy) lifestyles once they are in remission. This is a process that will last for up to ten years and throughout these years patients will have a number of necessary appointments to attend in order to ensure they that are healthy and that there is no sign of returning cancers. During these programs health care professionals with check with a patient to see if the have any symptoms or to see if they have noticed any changes in their body, especially those regions where the cancer had been. They will then talk to the patient about the patient’s diagnosis of cancer, the patient’s treatment, family history and upcoming appointments including the screenings that are to be performed during those treatments. These appointments are important because they allow healthcare providers to go over the patient’s care plan with them to make sure that they understand the information provided to them and they can ask any questions if they have them. These appointments also allow for patients to report any symptoms or important changes in their body to their nurses and doctors so that they can be monitored if there is a concern of returning cancer.  Although I enjoyed expanding my knowledge about breast cancer, ( and cancer in general ) I have learned that this type of profession would not be for me. I enjoyed shadowing my mentor however I am a very hands on type of person and I would not want a hospital job where I find myself in an office more than I do interacting with patients. One thing I would’ve liked to do differently would have been to find a way to spend more time with patients in order to engage in conversations with them and gain insight on how they feel about certain programs and procedures, being that they are the ones directly impacted.

Innovation Description

During my shadowing experience one problem that I noticed was that some patients didn’t show up for their appointments. Although I don’t know the actual answer as to why some patients didn’t show up for appointments one reason that can be assumed is that the patient forgot. It may be easy for a patient to forget an appointment because the appointments are spread out from six months to a year. For this reason I decided to create an app in order to make life easier for patients to keep track of appointments. This app lets patients know when their last appointment was and reminds them when their next one is coming up. Patients will be alerted the morning of their appointment that way they have no way of forgetting about it, as long as they keep their phone with them. During each appointment there is a list of screenings these patients will need to undergo. Being that this app is tailored more towards breast cancer patients, the screenings required for these patients would require mammograms, bone density tests, physicals and possibly even health consultations. When the patient checks the app to see when their next appointment is, it will also provide them with a list of screenings they can expect to go through that day. It will also let them know what type of screenings they received on their last appointment. This may make the patient more comfortable since they will know exactly what to expect when they arrive for their appointment. Another thing that I learned about was diagnosis and treatment of patients. These are things that I included in the app because they are some of the most important elements that make up a care plan. On the patient profile part of the app there is a part that states the type of cancer this patient was diagnosed with. These levels of cancers which I researched are a system of numbers and letters which represent the size and spread of the cancer. Also included in the patient care plan is a list of the treatments that were given to the patient, these could include a combination of treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or even hormone therapy. There is also a place to list any medications that the patient may be on. One of the most common types for breast cancer would likely be a drug called tamoxifen which is an estrogen blocker. Another important part of this program is a patient’s lifestyle, including diet and exercise. This app includes a list of dos and don’ts tailored to breast cancer patients. It is important that they know how to maintain the proper diet so that they don’t eat foods that could put them at greater risk of developing cancer. This app provides them with a few suggested recipes that they may want to try in order to give them new options. In case patients were interested in going out to eat every so often there is also a restaurant options section of the app. This can allow patients to build a healthier meal with the options they are given at a restaurant. Last but not least this app also includes a short section dedicated to exercise. One procedure that breast cancer patients often undergo is a mastectomy which is a partial or full removal of the breast. This may affect the types of exercises they can perform. For this reason the app provides simple, low impact workout suggestions that may be helpful for the patient. Exercise is important for breast cancer patients especially because it helps to regulate hormones in the body and increased levels of hormones, such as estrogen, could lead to the development of cancer. I also created a website that corresponds to the app. The website provides the basic information that patients will need to know about cancer and survivorship. It also explains the importance of exercise and proper diet for patients. The website helps to explain to patients how it operates. Finally there is a social media suggestion that you can access through the app which patients can sign up for in order to meet other survivors in their area. This may be important in patient’s recovery because one long term symptom they may be affected by is depression. Finding other survivors with similar interest may let the patient feel at ease. Not only can the patients look out for each other, but they can also share their stories so that they understand they are all going through similar things, and that they are not alone. There were two reason that these innovations took me as long as they did to make. The first reason being that I had never created anything like these before so I had to figure out how to build both the app and website. Another reason is because of the amount of research that went into these products. The app is specifically geared toward breast cancer patients who may have different needs from those patients who have other types of cancer. For this reason I had to research foods and exercises specific to breast cancer patients that would contribute to their healthy lifestyle. There are similar existing apps on the market today however they focus solely on the care plan part of survivorship. My app also incorporates the diet and exercise part of survivorship that are key elements to a patient’s health. My app also includes a social media aspect which helps patients to maintain a healthy mindset and allows for guidance. For my materials I needed a computer, and powerpoint to create the app. My website was created using wordpress and a computer. The last part of these materials were patient care plans and researched that I had used in order to make both of these innovations as accurate as possible.

Project Topic

Introduction to Topic

Cancer is a disease that develops due to the abnormal division of cells. It is a growing problem throughout the United States, and almost every person is affected by it in some way. It is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., and on average about 564,800 Americans are expected to die from cancer each year (breast). This topic of cancer is very important to me, because many of my family members have been diagnosed with a wide variety of cancers. Two of which had lost their battle with cancer due to late detection. One type of cancer I have developed an interest in is breast cancer. This is a disease that is predicted to take the life of over 40,000 men and women annually (breast). By the end of this year my goal is to gain knowledge about this topic and find a way to make patients lives easier after treatment.

Project Overview

Project Description

For my project I conducted hours of research in order to understand cancer on a deeper level. One of the most important topics I studied was survivorship. This is a program that is designed to help cancer survivors who are now in remission. On days my mentor and I saw patients we would review a patient “care plan” before meeting with them. This care plan includes a summary of the patient’s diagnosis and treatment that took place (your). After researching the patient’s specific diagnosis and the treatments provided to the patient we would meet with them and discuss their plan with them. However one problem that I noticed was occurring was that some patients didn’t show up to their appointments. On these days I would still review the patient’s care plan and then I would continue doing research on my own, or read articles provided to me by my mentor. Not knowing the reason for patients missing their appointments, whether they forgot about the appointment, or chose not to show up, I decided to try to create a way to counteract this problem. In order to make things easier for patients I decided I would create an app that had appointment reminders so that they would receive an alert a few days before they were due for an appointment. I believe this product would be useful for younger, tech-savvy people. As long as they have a smartphone their care plan can be at their fingertips.

Experience

Experience Description

For my project I chose to shadow a nurse practitioner in the cancer department of Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. Going into this project I thought that I had known most of the basics to cancer, being that it is a topic that I had covered a few times before in school. Once I began shadowing a nurse who worked in the cancer department, I soon learned that I didn’t know much about this disease at all. Majority of my hours had involved researching a number of topics through reliable websites and reading articles recommended to me by my mentor. I was able to learn, and am still continuing to learn new facts about cancer each day. Topics my mentor and I researched were the basics of cancer, treatment, staging and types of cancer. We chose to solely focus on breast cancer in order to narrow in on a specific topic, since cancer is such a broad topic. Throughout this time I had the opportunity to learn about something called survivorship. Most people don’t know what survivorship is unless they have been directly affected by cancer themselves. This is a program that is used to help cancer survivors to adjust to their new (healthy) lifestyles once they are in remission. This is a process that will last for up to ten years and throughout these years patients will have a number of necessary appointments to attend in order to ensure they that are healthy and that there is no sign of returning cancers. During these programs health care professionals with check with a patient to see if the have any symptoms or to see if they have noticed any changes in their body, especially those regions where the cancer had been. They will then talk to the patient about the patient’s diagnosis of cancer, the patient’s treatment, family history and upcoming appointments including the screenings that are to be performed during those treatments. These appointments are important because they allow healthcare providers to go over the patient’s care plan with them to make sure that they understand the information provided to them and they can ask any questions if they have them. These appointments also allow for patients to report any symptoms or important changes in their body to their nurses and doctors so that they can be monitored if there is a concern of returning cancer.  Although I enjoyed expanding my knowledge about breast cancer, ( and cancer in general ) I have learned that this type of profession would not be for me. I enjoyed shadowing my mentor however I am a very hands on type of person and I would not want a hospital job where I find myself in an office more than I do interacting with patients. One thing I would’ve liked to do differently would have been to find a way to spend more time with patients in order to engage in conversations with them and gain insight on how they feel about certain programs and procedures, being that they are the ones directly impacted.

Innovation

Innovation Description

During my shadowing experience one problem that I noticed was that some patients didn’t show up for their appointments. Although I don’t know the actual answer as to why some patients didn’t show up for appointments one reason that can be assumed is that the patient forgot. It may be easy for a patient to forget an appointment because the appointments are spread out from six months to a year. For this reason I decided to create an app in order to make life easier for patients to keep track of appointments. This app lets patients know when their last appointment was and reminds them when their next one is coming up. Patients will be alerted the morning of their appointment that way they have no way of forgetting about it, as long as they keep their phone with them. During each appointment there is a list of screenings these patients will need to undergo. Being that this app is tailored more towards breast cancer patients, the screenings required for these patients would require mammograms, bone density tests, physicals and possibly even health consultations. When the patient checks the app to see when their next appointment is, it will also provide them with a list of screenings they can expect to go through that day. It will also let them know what type of screenings they received on their last appointment. This may make the patient more comfortable since they will know exactly what to expect when they arrive for their appointment. Another thing that I learned about was diagnosis and treatment of patients. These are things that I included in the app because they are some of the most important elements that make up a care plan. On the patient profile part of the app there is a part that states the type of cancer this patient was diagnosed with. These levels of cancers which I researched are a system of numbers and letters which represent the size and spread of the cancer. Also included in the patient care plan is a list of the treatments that were given to the patient, these could include a combination of treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or even hormone therapy. There is also a place to list any medications that the patient may be on. One of the most common types for breast cancer would likely be a drug called tamoxifen which is an estrogen blocker. Another important part of this program is a patient’s lifestyle, including diet and exercise. This app includes a list of dos and don’ts tailored to breast cancer patients. It is important that they know how to maintain the proper diet so that they don’t eat foods that could put them at greater risk of developing cancer. This app provides them with a few suggested recipes that they may want to try in order to give them new options. In case patients were interested in going out to eat every so often there is also a restaurant options section of the app. This can allow patients to build a healthier meal with the options they are given at a restaurant. Last but not least this app also includes a short section dedicated to exercise. One procedure that breast cancer patients often undergo is a mastectomy which is a partial or full removal of the breast. This may affect the types of exercises they can perform. For this reason the app provides simple, low impact workout suggestions that may be helpful for the patient. Exercise is important for breast cancer patients especially because it helps to regulate hormones in the body and increased levels of hormones, such as estrogen, could lead to the development of cancer. I also created a website that corresponds to the app. The website provides the basic information that patients will need to know about cancer and survivorship. It also explains the importance of exercise and proper diet for patients. The website helps to explain to patients how it operates. Finally there is a social media suggestion that you can access through the app which patients can sign up for in order to meet other survivors in their area. This may be important in patient’s recovery because one long term symptom they may be affected by is depression. Finding other survivors with similar interest may let the patient feel at ease. Not only can the patients look out for each other, but they can also share their stories so that they understand they are all going through similar things, and that they are not alone. There were two reason that these innovations took me as long as they did to make. The first reason being that I had never created anything like these before so I had to figure out how to build both the app and website. Another reason is because of the amount of research that went into these products. The app is specifically geared toward breast cancer patients who may have different needs from those patients who have other types of cancer. For this reason I had to research foods and exercises specific to breast cancer patients that would contribute to their healthy lifestyle. There are similar existing apps on the market today however they focus solely on the care plan part of survivorship. My app also incorporates the diet and exercise part of survivorship that are key elements to a patient’s health. My app also includes a social media aspect which helps patients to maintain a healthy mindset and allows for guidance. For my materials I needed a computer, and powerpoint to create the app. My website was created using wordpress and a computer. The last part of these materials were patient care plans and researched that I had used in order to make both of these innovations as accurate as possible.

By | 2017-05-12T03:37:04+00:00 May 12th, 2017|Biomed Capstone Project 2017|0 Comments

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