Free health care navigators available for breast cancer and other diseases

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Patient navigation is a term increasingly used in health care.

Since 1990, the number of patient navigation programs across the United States has grown for cancer and other diseases. In general, a patient navigator guides individual patients through the health care system.

At Providence St. Mary Medical Center the service is free service available to everyone, regardless of whether they are Providence St. Mary patients.

Breast cancer navigators serve as a resource to patients with breast cancer and their families by educating patients concerning what can be expected before, during and after diagnosis.

This includes screening and diagnostic mammography and other imaging exams, surgery consultation and surgical options such as lumpectomy, mastectomy, breast conservation, and prosthetic forms and garments.

Other important treatment concerns addressed are radiation therapy, endocrine therapy and chemotherapy.

An important concern of many people is the cost of screening, diagnosis and treatment. Addressing these issues with the breast cancer navigator can aid with discovering resources that can help with attaining these services.

For instance, in our community the Jan Erickson Lifesaver Fund administered through the Providence St. Mary Foundation provides qualified women with no-cost screening mammograms.

The program is available through the breast cancer navigator.

You do not have to face breast issues with uncertainty or feel as if you are alone. The breast cancer navigator will work as your personal guide, navigating to ensure you have all of the resources you need to make informed decisions.

If you are in need of these free services, call me at 509-522-5831.

Laurie Cochran, R.N., is a breast care navigator at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

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