by Susan Joss, Survivorship Navigator
June is National Cancer Survivorship Month. First recognized in 1987, it is a time to honor the over 16 million people in the United States that have survived cancer. A cancer survivor is defined as a person who is either currently in treatment or who has fought the disease. Every survivorship experience is unique as they may face challenges during and after treatments. At Halifax Health, our mission is to take off some of the burdens that cancer survivors face. With our comprehensive oncology program, our navigators and clinical social workers are removing barriers and acting as healthcare advocates for cancer patients during this difficult time.
So how does it work? Once a person is diagnosed, they are paired with a disease-specific navigator who assists them throughout their cancer journey. The navigator explains the process, is a resource to answer questions and provides guidance throughout the treatment journey. Patient navigation is relatively new in the medical field, and at Halifax Health we go one step further by providing a constant source of positive feedback and ongoing education.
What does a survivorship navigator do? A survivorship navigator works with patients after their treatments are complete helping them transition into their new normal routine. Patients may suffer various ongoing side effects like fatigue or numbness. They may need additional assistance or to see a physician. The navigator provides advice, support and education. The navigator can recognize when the patient needs access to a dietician or social worker, or if they need treatment to control nausea or other discomforts. The navigator serves as a “roadmap” during and after cancer treatment easing the burden on the patient and making their recovery easier.
At Halifax Health – Center for Oncology we provide patient-centered care while surrounding them with love and support. We are dedicated to making their treatment journey a positive experience through education, support and dedication.
Survivorship is an integral component of cancer care. Survivors are our heroes and our hope.