If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you may feel overwhelmed by the
important decisions you need to make about treatment, family, employment,
insurance and more. These stressful decisions can require energy that
would be better devoted to your care and treatment. Evidence shows that
having a navigator available to assist throughout the process can dramatically
improve your care.
“Learning of a cancer diagnosis emotionally affects patients and
their loved ones. Many patients experience an overwhelming sense of fear
and anxiety after they hear the word ‘cancer’. These feelings
may cause them to miss information provided by their health care team,”
said Stacey Ferrante, RN, MSN, OCN, supervisor of the navigator program
and breast cancer program navigator at
St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California.
The clinical experts at St. Joseph Hospital’s
Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment understand the challenges patients and their families face when dealing
with cancer. That’s why a dedicated team of highly-trained navigators
provide the resources and support needed from diagnosis through treatment
and survivorship. The multidisciplinary cancer navigator team consists
of navigators, a program coordinator, a program assistant, a financial
coordinator, a dietitian and a social worker. Each navigator specializes
in a specific disease site, which includes:
- Breast Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Gynecologic Oncology
- Head and Neck
- Liver, Bile Duct and Pancreas Tumors
- Thoracic Oncology
- Urologic Oncology
While navigators assist program directors with the advancement of treatment,
research and program elements, their primary role is to serve as a liaison
between the patient and hospital care teams.
“As navigators, our top priority is to make the coordination of
cancer care as smooth as possible for patients. This includes reducing
barriers to ensure patients and their loved ones clearly understand their
diagnosis and treatment plan, and have access to all the services available
to them,” said Enza Esposito-Nguyen, RN, MSN, ANP-BC, thoracic and
urologic oncology navigator.
The cancer navigator team works collaboratively to develop classes and
support groups for patients and their families. In addition, they educate
the community about cancer prevention.
“Prevention is part of cancer care and it’s important to educate
people about the tools available that help detect cancer. "Whether
it’s informing them about cancer screening guidelines or the preventive
services we offer, having knowledge of these resources can save lives,”
said Angela Acevedo, RN-BC, MA, MFTI, OCN, breast cancer program navigator.
For more information about the Cancer Navigator Program at The Center for
Cancer Prevention and
Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, visit sjo.org/navigator or call