Women facing breast cancer can feel anxious or confused, so it helps to have a personal guide through the complexities of the clinical, emotional and practical aspects of their diagnosis and treatment.
As an oncology nurse navigator, I work closely with North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute’s multidisciplinary specialists–including breast surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic surgeons, social workers, nutritionists and genetic counselors–to promote communication between patients and their healthcare team. I also serve as a liaison between breast cancer patients and physicians, helping patients to get answers to their questions, including what side effects to expect and how to cope with them.
I am with my breast cancer patients as long as they need my help, providing education and support, coordinating care and advocating for patients along the entire continuum of care. I also put patients in touch with resources to help them find transportation to appointments, childcare assistance and financial and health insurance concerns.
Patients and their lived ones experience emotional hurdles, too, so I help women, their spouses and young children to cope with the stress of the cancer diagnosis. I give them information about additional services like patient and family support groups–and a shoulder to lean on, too.