Each day Suzy Burns is building relationships with breast cancer patients.
As a Breast Patient Navigator (BPN) and Registered Nurse (RN) at The Regional Cancer Center of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, she is specially trained to coordinate the clinical, educational and supportive needs of patients who are either facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis or newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
"Breast cancer is a complex disease," she said. "You have several courses of treatment with multiple physicians that will care for you. You may need to decipher clinical language that is commonly used, and will need to coordinate numerous appointments. It’s my job to assist with the plan of care and serve as a resource that patients can always connect back to.
"Our goal is to offer seamless coordinated care so patients and their families can focus their energy on getting well - not just on difficult details of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment that can be so overwhelming," Burns said.
Burns is located at the Faxton Campus at The Comprehensive Breast Care Center. She serves as an expert guide in all aspects of breast care, from the time of an abnormal mammogram, she is available providing education, support and assistance in comprehensive breast care all at no charge to patients in the community.
The Breast Patient Navigator’s role includes:
¿ Obtaining a focused patient history
¿ Assisting patients in the interpretation and understanding of test results
¿ Providing education and support prior to the beginning of treatment and after
¿ Ensuring that important information is shared amongst providers
¿ Serving as a trusted resource for patients diagnosed with breast cancer or benign breast changes.
The BPN serves as a consistent and knowledgeable clinical resource throughout the treatment and after. Burns identifies the ongoing educational and psycho-social needs of patients and families and ensures that these important needs are met.
She serves as a link between healthcare providers and treatment settings (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, inpatient, outpatient, physician’s office) and connects patients and families to resources for disease management or treatment-related problems.
"A navigator serves as a connection, an advocate and a voice for the patient," Burns said. "Patients diagnosed with breast disease and their family members will have questions and concerns. There will be tests results to understand, treatment options to consider, the need to address barriers to care and emotional support needed for the road ahead. Our arms wrap around the ‘whole’ patient¿it makes this job incredibly rewarding."
For more information about the Breast Patient Navigator program at The Regional Cancer Center please call 315-624-5764 or ask your doctor for a referral.