A cancer diagnosis is life-changing. Suddenly, what’s certain is not.
Information comes at you full tilt, decisions you need to make may be overwhelming and where do you begin?
Having a personal guide to help navigate the process is exactly what you need and that’s what breast care coordinators do. They provide support to patients and breast cancer treatment programs by helping make sense of what’s happening and getting questions answered.
Get answers to your questions
Amanda Boreen, R.N., a Marshfield Clinic breast care coordinator, describes her role as being the hub that connects her patients to services and support they need.
“My role starts when a patient’s been diagnosed with breast cancer,” Boreen said. “After the doctor has shared the diagnosis I reach out to the patient and we talk about individual support systems and how the health care team and I can supplement this.”
Boreen provides education, identifies concerns and refers patients and families to resources.
“I also set up consultations for patients with a surgeon and oncologist who specialize in breast cancer treatment and will lead their health care team,” she said.
Coordinated care avoids loose ends
Although not a new phenomenon in health care, breast care coordinators in cancer care have had more of a pioneering role. Providing patients with one consistent contact to coordinate their health care helps avoid loose ends and is a signature of the program’s quality.
In her role, Boreen serves as the hub throughout treatment for patients’ questions and concerns, helps coordinate appointments, follows along with treatment plans, uses resources and lends an ear when patients just need to talk.
“A breast cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. I want to make sure we’re doing everything we can for the patient’s care,” she said. “I feel good knowing patients can contact me with a concern and I can help. Sometimes I don’t wait and I call them. This helps patients and families by alleviating some anxiety and uncertainty.”
Support also can come from personal experience. In this video, cancer survivors offer their advice for coping with cancer.