Banner Health News Center  

Breast patient navigator supports patients during difficult diagnosis

Claudine Shelley  
SUN CITY WEST, Ariz. (May 8, 2013) — When a patient learns their mammogram has turned up something suspicious, knowing the next steps can be difficult. Moreover, fear of the unknown can set in. Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center aims to quell those fears and help patients through the course of their diagnosis, treatment and recovery by providing a new support service – a breast patient navigator.
Claudine Shelley joined Banner Del E. Webb 12 years ago as a registered nurse in the hospital’s nursery and now serves as its first and only certified breast patient navigator in imaging and cancer care. This unique and proactive approach to cancer care will focus on breast health – regular breast self-exams, clinical exams and concerns about breast lumps - and provide patients emotional support as they navigate the often difficult- to- understand medical system.  

“It’s nice to have someone there from the beginning,” said Shelley. “Our goal is to give patients hope and make them understand the path that they’re going through – why tests are important and what the tests entail.” 

Whether helping a patient through the further testing or dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, Shelley’s job is to provide support and resources needed to help patients make an informed choice for the appropriate treatment plan prescribed. Shelley guides patients through the health care system, helps them establish relationships with their health care providers and provides answers through evidence-based education. 

Patients who come to Banner Del E. Webb’s Diagnostic Center have Shelley as a resource if there’s a breast abnormality – whether it is benign or cancerous. Once Shelley has established contact with a patient, she’s there to educate them and offer support prior, during and after procedures. This helps ensure that the patient and ordering physician receive results in a timely manner. Shelley also navigates patients to resources available and empowers them to become informed participants in their care.   
Shelley obtained certification as a Breast Patient Navigator in Imaging and Cancer Care through the National Consortium of Breast Centers – a group of professionals dedicated to promoting excellence in breast health care. Their network of diverse professionals support and encourage the development of programs aimed at specializing in breast disease and breast health. 

Breast cancer is prevalent in Shelley’s own family which makes this cause near and dear to her heart. She says, “It takes me back to the heart of nursing. I get to care about my patients and what their needs are and make sure they have the information they need to be successful. I’m inspired by the women I have met, their strength and courage. There are times when I get to be that strength for them.” 
Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center has one of the busiest breast centers throughout Banner Health and Shelley’s new role has been paramount to their success.

About Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center
Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center is a community hospital in Sun City West, Ariz. The hospital specializes in orthopedic surgery, heart care, emergency care, cancer care, obstetrics and women’s services. Banner Del E. Webb is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health care system with 23 hospitals in seven states. Supporting Banner Del E. Webb’s mission of excellent patient care is Sun Health Foundation, which encourages charitable giving to enhance health care delivery. For more information, visit
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