What is a Cancer Navigator?
Tricia Bruce is the American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Navigator at Banner Desert Medical Center (480) 412-3817. Natalie Qasawadish, is the American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Navigator at Banner Baywood Medical Center (480) 321-4752.
Question: My mother was referred to a Cancer Navigator during her last hospital visit. What does a Navigator do?
Answer: The Cancer Navigator program is a free resource specifically for cancer patients, cancer survivors and family members affected by cancer. The program connects patients or family members to community based resources such as transportation, lodging, and other local assistance based on needs.
Available through the cancer programs at Banner Desert Medical Center and Banner Baywood Medical Center, the Cancer Navigator Program is a community support program offering ongoing outpatient services as well as working with cancer patients who receive treatments at any Phoenix hospital.
The Cancer Navigator program offers assistance to any cancer diagnosis. They have a unique Gift Closet that offers free cancer-related supplies such as wigs, turbans, hats and nutritional supplements.
Physicians, case managers, family members or patients can request a visit with the Cancer Resource Navigator. The Navigator will then assess the patient’s needs and work with their support network to fulfill those needs. Patient needs vary from finding information on a specific type of cancer, helping the patient find the right questions to ask their physician, connecting them with support groups, assisting with transportation to and from their cancer treatments and/or cancer-related supplies such as finding a wig.
Acting as a friend and confidant, as well as an information source, the Cancer Navigator builds relationships that help the cancer patient succeed in their treatment to become living proof in the fight against cancer.
At Banner Desert Medical Center, the Cancer Navigator program also utilizes trained volunteers, all former cancer patients, who can offer patients insight into the programs and services that are available. The Navigator and volunteers are basically there as informed support, helping patients to create a connection that might make their cancer diagnosis, and subsequent treatments and remission, a more positive and healing experience.