Strengthening Our Patient Navigator Program

Filed under Magee-Womens Hospital

It is estimated that 81,000 American women will be diagnosed with gynecologic cancers and 192,000 with breast cancer in 2009. Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC projects that they will provide high quality, research-driven care for over 2,000 of these women diagnosed with breast and gynecologic cancers.

The diagnosis of cancer launches a woman down an anxious and fear-filled path that impacts all aspects of her life. Today's breast and gynecologic cancer patients face complex decision-making due to advances in care, which may require multiple treatment modalities and providers. The expansion in technology, such as breast MRI, tissue testing and assays, and genetic testing require greater self-advocacy skills.

Recognized as a leading program in the country, Magee-Womens Cancer Program understands the need to address the psychosocial dimension of care. Through Patient Navigator services, Magee is able to guide patients through diagnosis and treatment by answering questions, providing information about available services and amenities, and ensuring a comfortable experience for the patient.

Magee's patient navigators empower patients and their families to find and make use of the various resources, treatment services, and support services that they need to receive the best cancer treatment possible. Our experience has shown that in order to spend the required time with each patient, more personnel are needed.

Since 2008, Magee has filled 1.6 patient navigator positions. Since January 2008, the navigators have contacted more than 1,500 breast and gynecologic cancer patients. Ideally, Magee should employ 3 to 4 full-time patient navigators to meet the needs of every women with cancer served at Magee. Through grants and individual donations, we hope to make this dream a reality.

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