Alert

Published on October 01, 2020

Breast Cancer Navigation

Jodi Rector, RN, BSN, Breast Care Navigator

Navigation services for breast cancer patients are an integral part of the cancer care experience. These services are often structured in various ways to ensure the needs of the patient are met. At Pardee Cancer Center, we focus on offering individualized assistance to patients, families and caregivers to help overcome healthcare system barriers. We strive to individualize care based on a needs assessment, availability of family support and involvement, patient willingness to participate, patient acuity and a variety of other factors. We value our health care community partners and work closely with them to guarantee local resources are available to our patients. Specifically, as a Breast Care Navigator, my role is to connect with each newly diagnosed breast cancer patient and assist them with any needs they may have during their journey, from diagnosis through survivorship. In 2019, we treated 209 newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer, and of those, 14 percent were under the age of 50. Breast cancer cases accounted for 31.5 percent of our total analytical caseload in 2019.

Jodi Rector

Jodi Rector, RN, BSN

Breast Care Navigator

One of the community partners our breast navigation program works with is Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC). LBBC is a national non-profit agency that works diligently to provide women with accurate and credible breast cancer information. They are based in Philadelphia, and offer a variety of resources, programs and trainings/seminars for patients, volunteers and medical professionals. Recently, they offered a survivorship training program that focused on the most common challenges young breast cancer survivors face. I was honored to be one of 12 breast care navigators in the southeastern part of the country selected to attend their three-day intensive workshop.

We have just recently implemented our very own “Survivorship Series for Young Women” as part of LBBC’s Young Women’s Initiative. It is a four-part educational series for women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45 and focuses on their unique challenges, such as early menopause, long term effects of cancer treatment, sex and intimacy as well as self-care after breast cancer. This series is currently being offered virtually, due to COVID-19, but we have found that the virtual setting has allowed increased participation among young survivors; surpassing our expectations. The target audience of this program is a very specific demographic but the positive response has shown us just how great the need is. It has also helped me, as the breast navigator, connect with younger patients who have typically been reluctant to attend the cancer center’s monthly breast cancer support group.

This collaboration is just one example of how we at Pardee are continuing to strengthen and refine our navigation program. Partnerships such as these are essential in ensuring we offer our patients the highest quality, comprehensive care from diagnosis through survivorship. We look forward to working with LBBC on future initiatives such as focused support and education for patients with metastatic disease, triple-negative disease and caregiver trainings. Our goal is to be the link that connects patients to their care providers, actively involves them in their care and breaks down any barriers to care.

Read more about in Pardee's Cancer Annual Report at https://www.pardeehospital.org/care-treatment/cancer/

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