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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title The Science of Cancer & Its Application
Module Code NS546
School School of Nursing and Human Sciences
Module TeacherNo Teacher Assigned
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

To examine the science behind cancer diseases, examine how this translates into rational treatment and equip the graduate with the skills to be proficient, competent and confident to utilise, apply and impart this scientific understanding at the interface of patients and clinician.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the basic biology and physiology of the cell and how this becomes aberrant to cause cancer
2. Appraise scientific jargon commonly used and explain how to communicate this terminology to healthcare professionals and to translate jargon to layterms for people with cancer and their close others, particularly in the context of patient recruitment to clinical trials and explaining the rationale, benefits and side effects of cancer treatments.
3. Be skilled in explaining the rationale, benefits and side effects of participation in clinical trials and cancer treatments to patients and healthcare professionals using language appropriate to the context.
4. Evaluate diagnostic, prognostic and treatment challenges and the process by which new research advances are undertaken and applied in the oncology clinical setting.
5. Appraise the major treatments for cancer (drug, radiation, biological and surgery), their effects and side effects;
6. Critique the implications of current and future technologies relevant to treatment, management and care for patients with cancer

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture38based on indicative content, learning activities, tutorials, group work and discussions
Independent Study172self directed study based on additional reading list
Clinical placement40reflective learning in practice
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Scientific models and theories
•Scientific models and theories of the biochemical, molecular, genetic, epigenetic and environmental origins of cancer

Treatment guidelines and decision trees
•Treatment guidelines and decision trees associated with the major common forms of cancer, e.g. breast, lung, prostate and haematological malignancies, and how these are impacted by the molecular origins of these diseases

Staging criteria
•Staging criteria for the major forms of cancer, what these stages mean in terms of the state of the disease in the body and their consequences for the patient.

Diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tools
•Diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tools applied in cancer treatment

Common morbidities and co-morbidities
•Common morbidities and co-morbidities directly and indirectly associated with cancer.

Resistance pharmacology
•Models of challenges in cancer treatment, how tumours can resist and overcome the various forms of therapy available

Emerging trends and technologies
•Emerging trends in cancer research, diagnosis and treatment

Communications knowledge and skills
•Communications knowledge and skills appropriate to the transfer of oncology terminology in professional and lay terms for healthcare professionals to educate/offer effective and clear explanations to people with cancer and their close others in clinical and community settings re recruitment to clinical trials and understanding cancer/treatments/interventions/prevention

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Assignmentwritten assignment incorporating a critical analysis /reflection of communication techniques required for recruiting a patient to a clinical trial & explaining cancer treatments in layterms using video recording40%
Assignmentwritten assignment critiquing care of a patient requiring explanations in lay terms of cancer treatments & /or participation in clinical trials.60%Sem 2 End
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • McKinnell, RG et al: 2006, The Biological Basis of Cancer, Cambridge University Press, NY, 0-521-60633-0
  • McKinnell, RG et al: 2008, Prevention of cancer, Chelsea House, NY, 9780791088272
  • edited by Sotiris Missailidis: 0, The cancer clock, 9780470061527
  • DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg: 2008, Principles & Practice of Oncology, 8th ed, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 9780781772075
Other Resources

197, http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/PPI/default.htm, 0, 198, http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp, 0, 199, http://www.cancer.net/portal/site/patient/, 0, 200, http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk/Home, 0, 201, http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/understandingca, 0, 202, Video series, Fallowfield, L, Jenkins,V., 0, Communication with patients with cancer: Teaching series: Clinical Trials , Sussex,
Programme or List of Programmes
GPOYGraduate Diploma in Psycho-Oncology
Date of Last Revision16-JUL-09

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