← Previous  Next →
32. Cancer Patient Navigators

Navigators are a guide and constant presence for cancer patients through every stage of treatment -- which otherwise could seem highly fragmented. Their assistance is becoming a core part of cancer care and can improve outcomes.

> The need for multiple specialists can make the treatment of cancer one of the most fragmented forms of medical care.

Example: Treatment for patient with breast cancer.

Testing and preliminary diagnosis (primary care physician), confirmation of diagnosis by specialist (clinical oncologist), 2nd opinion (another clinical oncologist), removal of mastectomy (surgeon), surgery to reconstruct the breast (plastic surgeon), post-op treatment - radiation (radiation oncologist), post-op treatment - chemo (clinical oncologist), planning for survivorship and long-term observation (primary care physician)

> The navigator explains each treatment step -- in advance and in simplified terms the patient can understand. The navigator also checks the treatments are covered by health insurance and (with the patient) devises coping strategies for issues like workplace rights, childcare and transportation to doctor appointments.