Patient Navigators: Providing Direction After Diagnosis

Formerly of RPCI
Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 6:02pm

A cancer diagnosis is daunting. The medical aspects of a serious illness are enough to fill your head with uncertainty and worry, but there are still so many other questions that must be answered. Questions that patients and their families may have never thought about, or ever thought they’d have to answer.

As a new cancer patient, you may find yourself wondering things like, “How will I get to the doctor on a regular basis?” “How will I pay for this?” “Is there anyone else out there who understands exactly how I feel?”

The patient navigators at Roswell Park can help provide answers to those questions.

Just as the title implies, our team assists you in “navigating” through uncertainty you may feel upon receiving a cancer diagnosis. Along with the other navigators, I can provide you with the necessary resources to make informed decisions. Our elite medical staff will do everything they can to improve your health, but the navigators are available for those who need help with other aspects of cancer.

Our main purpose here at Roswell Park is to help take your mind off matters such as money and transportation. We are able to point you toward financial counselors and social workers, as well as support groups such as Bosom Buddies and the Witness Project.

If your appointment is held up, we’ll hand you a pager and encourage you to get a cup of coffee or explore our Cancer Resource Center for Patients and Families. At the Cancer Resource Center, you’ll find helpful reading material, Internet access and a large library of DVDs available for borrowing. Roswell Park is also the home of the Breast Resource Center, specifically designed for breast cancer patients.

The navigation team will usually see all new patients at Roswell Park, and I personally try to see all new patients in the thoracic, head and neck, and breast clinics. We also meet with patients’ families to help answer any questions they may have.

We are here to help you and to provide you with as much support as you need, but ultimately, it’s up to you to ask the right questions. This helps us understand how you’re feeling. If you find yourself needing any kind of support, please don’t hesitate to call the patient navigation team at (716) 845-1542. More about our overall mission can also be found in our patient navigation brochure.