One of the features that sets the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute
apart is our commitment to supporting patients, families and caregivers from the moment of diagnosis through treatment and post-recovery.
Our compassionate and experienced oncology support team includes physicians, nurses, physician assistants, oncology social workers, therapists specializing in lymphedema management, licensed clinical counselors, registered dietitians, financial advisors and chaplains who provide care, guidance, education, emotional support and tools to help patients and families address the physical, psychosocial and financial challenges that often accompany a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Supportive services for patients with breast cancer include nurse navigation, palliative care, Oncology Supportive Care, our Image Recovery Center, and survivorship.
Our oncology care team includes nurse navigators who are focused on each major site of cancer, including breast. Nurse navigators provide patients and families with education and support to help them process complex information, manage expectations, and make informed treatment decisions. They also serve as liaisons, connecting the patient with other members of the care team for timely and appropriate assistance, ranging from symptom management to financial guidance. Nurse navigators accompany patients to appointments when possible, and are available to answer questions throughout the course of treatment and beyond. Patients and families benefit by having convenient access to a trusted and reliable source of information and emotional support.
Palliative care is a team-based program to assist patients and families. The team works alongside our surgeons and oncologists to help relieve symptoms, treatment side effects, and stressors related to cancer. The palliative care team gets to know each patient to better understand their needs, and works with the treatment team to honor their personal goals, such as attending a special event or managing symptoms so they are able to work. Recently, we added a new program for patients under the age of 65 who have a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, to help them handle the unique psychosocial issues that can interfere with treatment. Contrary to misconceptions about palliative care, this service is offered to all patients with cancer, not just those who are facing a more aggressive or advanced disease.
Oncology Supportive Care
Symptom management is a key part of patient care at the Cancer Institute. When patients experience new or worsening symptoms such as pain or nausea, whether related to cancer or the side effects of treatment, our staff makes every effort to see them that same day or the next. In addition, we developed an Oncology Supportive Care (OSC) program to proactively prevent problems, and to establish a pathway for patients to get help when needed. Patients who are diagnosed with cancers associated with more severe symptoms or treatments are referred for OSC. Our team, which includes physician assistants, nurse navigators, social workers and a chaplain, often collaborates and shares resources with the palliative care team.
The patient meets with the OSC team on designated clinic days to discuss their diagnosis, treatment and symptoms, as well as tools and resources for managing their care.