Scheduling a breast cancer exam is one of the most proactive things women can do for their health, but it can also cause great anxiety. But ladies screened for breast cancer through Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s early detection program are paired with a patient navigator—a personal guide—to help guide them through the entire process.
Patient navigators provide screening participants with emotional support, scheduling follow-up appointments, obtaining financial assistance, arranging transportation, coordinating care among medical providers and much more. This continues until a resolution, meaning no cancer is found and/or monitoring must occur or a diagnosis is made. If cancer is detected, patients also have access to a navigator throughout their treatment and survivorship who can assist every step of the way.
Meet the Screening Navigator
Knowing that breast cancer is the most commonly cancer diagnosed and the second leading cause of death in women in Louisiana, Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offer free monthly breast cancer screenings to catch cancer in its earliest stage when it’s more treatable. Sharneitha Bradford, a nurse who serves as a screening navigator, attends these early detection events and guides women through the clinical breast exam process. If an abnormality is found during the exam, Sharneitha schedules an appointment for the participant with Advanced Imaging at Woman’s Hospital and follows up to assist with any transportation issues, financial constraints or other barriers to care. Regardless of the obstacle, patient navigators are there to help solve problems and provide clinical and emotional support.
“As women, there’s so many reasons we create to avoid going to the doctor; I often hear ladies say they can’t miss work, they don’t have a ride or they simply just don’t have the time,” Bradford says.
“We’re always taking care of others, but we have to take care of ourselves, too, if we want to be there for the ones we love.”
Together the Cancer Center and Woman’s Hospital work together to provide the best cancer care team the sisterhood. Since 2002, we have jointly screened more than 36,000 women for breast cancer.
For more information on the organizations’ collaborative efforts to fight breast and GYN cancers, visit breastandgyncancer.org.