How a breast cancer nurse navigator helps you handle barriers to care

A breast cancer diagnosis usually comes with months and years of difficult treatment. The situation can be made more difficult by complicated processes to find, schedule, organize, and pay for care.

That’s why CHI St. Joseph has oncology nurse navigators assigned to each breast cancer patient.

On First News at Four, Martha Fuentes, oncology nurse navigator, explained the top five barriers to care for local breast cancer patients and how she and her team work to break through those barriers. See the video player above for the full conversation.

5. Cultural or religious barriers: CHI St. Joseph is sensitive to cultural beliefs about treatment and cancer, and the nurse navigator provides religious support/guidance.

4. Personal care barriers: The nurse navigator helps the patient utilize local resources for wigs, prosthetics, and medical equipment the patient may need.

3. Communication barriers: The nurse navigator helps to organize communication or translation for whatever language the patient is most comfortable with, through a staffed Spanish-speaking social work, scheduled on-site interpreting, and a video-remote digital interpretation system.

2. Transportation barriers: The nurse navigator can help connect a patient with the American Cancer Society, Brazos Transit District, and there are gas cards available for those who qualify.

1. Financial barriers: The nurse navigator helps to assess the patient's needs and help them find appropriate funding (ex. Pink Alliance, Breast & Cervical Medicaid, and available grants for some medications).