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Navigators guide breast cancer patients from diagnosis through treatment

October 11, 2012

When a woman learns she has breast cancer, she has questions. What happens next? Will I need surgery? Radiation therapy? Chemotherapy? Will I be able to take care of my family during treatment? What about my job?

Treatment can be a lengthy process. That’s why St. Mary’s created a patient navigator program for our breast cancer patients. As navigators, two of St. Mary’s experienced mammography technologists assist patients from the time a possible abnormality is discovered on a mammogram through treatment.

Patient navigators are advocates, educators, and guides, explains Deana Marone, RT(R)(M)(BD), who is certified by the National Consortium of Breast Centers as a Breast Patient Navigator in Imaging and Oncology.

“We know the process of diagnosis and treatment. We know what resources are available at St. Mary’s, in Grand Junction, and in neighboring communities,” says Marone. “It’s not just about medical care. We connect women with programs that help them maintain or rebuild strength, assist emotionally, and sometimes financially. We give each patient as much or as little guidance as she wants.”