Cancer Services

Finding Safe Harbor When the Diagnosis is Cancer

The report of an abnormality in a mammogram is a shock that can trigger doubts and fears. That’s normal.

But for many women, such a health scare triggers much more. How is she going to afford the next medical step? Between work and child-care issues, how is she even going to make the next appointment? If English isn’t her first language, how is she going to understand the complex choices that may lie ahead?

Women who come to Highland Hospital for its world-class diagnostic and surgical care come from all walks of life, but for some, the walk is quite a bit harder.

That’s when the Patient Navigator Program staff steps in.

Cancer services - Needs fWhat Navigators deliver

Its navigators are healthcare professionals whose mission is to make the emotional and physical trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis more bearable. They can assist patients with tapping into the wealth of non-profit organizations that stand ready to help with the emotional and physical challenges ahead.

“The navigator becomes a companion to the patient,” says Cynthia Rowden, RN, case manager in the Breast Surgery Clinic. “They connect with the patient personally to ensure they receive a final diagnosis in an acceptable amount of time. They will also continue tracking the patient through the course of treatment and keep up regular contact.”

Community connections

Community group resources that can be accessed range from support groups to integrative therapies like massage, acupuncture and meditation; as well as psychological and educational resources, interpreter assistance, practical support (such as home visits by care givers) and even some limited financial support. Community partners include the East Bay Region of the American Cancer Society, Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic and the Women’s Cancer Resource Center.

Message of support

“Our message to our breast cancer patients and survivors is: Don’t be afraid. You are not alone. You have support and your community is eager to support you,” Rowden said.

Help us continue to support essential programs like the Patient Navigator Program. Together we can help those most in need navigate a path to healing and recovery.

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