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The Patient Navigator Blog


From advice on specific illnesses to tips on how to communicate with your specialists, there’s a wealth of knowledge on the Patient Navigator blog.

Recent Posts

Elder Care

When Should Seniors Stop Driving?


One of the central aspects of American culture is independence. When a person can no longer drive safely, he or she loses a huge degree of that independence. Proper preparation and discussion can help ease the process.

Cancer

Informed Consent: Your Rights and Responsibility


Every person has the right to fully participate in decisions regarding his or her own health care. This legal doctrine is called the right to informed consent. As a patient or caregiver, you have the right and responsibility to obtain as much information as you need to be able to commit to a course of treatment or testing process.

Cancer

Bone Marrow Transplant Concerns


People who are multiracial are one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the United States. However, despite donor drives and new efforts to utilize social networking to increase the number of donors, they are also the most under-represented in the marrow registry.

Cancer

The Face of Pain


People with chronic, unrelenting pain are often told it is “all in their head” and that they should see a psychologist. Palliative care doctors can help.

Cancer

Perplexed Pediatrician – Should Mom Worry?


When her son’s pediatrician said she had never heard of the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov), this young mom was blown away. Should she worry about entrusting her son’s care to a doctor who has never heard of this world-famous institution? Comments invited.

Cancer

Cyberchondria – Don’t Let This Happen to You!


“Cyberchondriacs” spend hours at the computer screen, typing in symptoms, or fears, wading through the results, both accurate and inaccurate, and convincing themselves they have a certain condition. Often, they will print out reams of documentation and present themselves to their doctors, having already diagnosed their “condition” and determined a course of treatment.

Cancer

Cancer and Depression


A cancer diagnosis is an emotional earthquake, unleashing fear, anger, sadness, confusion and uncertainty. Depression is a condition that affects many cancer patients at one point or another. In fact, up to 1 in 4 people with cancer do have clinical depression. The good news is that clinical depression can be treated.

Cancer

The Cancer Genome Atlas Project


Scientists have mapped specific genes that turn normal healthy cells into cancerous cells through The Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA). Researchers have now developed a more reliable scientific method to identify these genes. As this research is shared around the world, more accessible and effective cancer treatment options are being discovered. The ultimate goal of the TCGA is to create a catalogue of these “defective” genes, thereby offering increased detection, and ultimately, better prevention and treatment of cancer.

Cancer

Enjoy Your Valentine’s Chocolate!


Research has shown that dark chocolate improves blood vessel functioning, thus lowering blood pressure, taking stress off your heart and helping your blood circulate more efficiently. Dark chocolate also has antioxidant qualities, which come from flavonoids found in cocoa. So on Valentine’s Day, nothing says “I love you” like some delicious, dark chocolate

Cancer

Medical Community Issues Guidelines on Caregiving


The Journal of General Internal Medicine recently released ethical guidelines addressing patient, physician, and caregiver relationships. The medical community is increasingly respecting the role of caregivers and offering guidance on how to develop that relationship.

Cancer

Investigational Drug Therapies – FDA Changes


Access to investigational therapies is a highly debated topic in the medical world.  Investigational therapy involves drugs that are being scientifically tested but not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Often these drugs are offered through programs such as “compassionate use programs,” and “expanded access programs” to allow seriously ill patients access…

Cancer

We All Carry Cancer Cells


We all have cancer cells in our bodies. The good news is that, for most of us, our body’s natural defenses know how to defeat these defective, tumor-causing cells, and they never get the chance to grow up into a full-blown cancer. Whether you’ve had cancer or not, any person who wants to improve their chances of avoiding cancer should read Dr. David Servan-Schreiber’s very important book called “Anti-Cancer – A New Way of Life.”

Cancer

Cancer Clinical Trials – What You Should Know


The words “clinical trials” can conjure up images of desperate medical experiments with little hope of success. In reality, medical advances and breakthroughs can and have resulted from clinical trials. Without them, we wouldn’t have many of the treatments we have today.

Cancer

Cancer Survivorship – Beating Your Cancer and Living Your Life


I am encouraged – most of the people I know who have had cancer have beaten their disease and become cancer survivors.  They struggled through the chemotherapy, the radiation treatment, surgery, physical and emotional upheavals and come out on the other side.  It is a time of celebration and elation. But then the reality of…

Cancer

Our Health Is Our Greatest Gift


Many of you reading this blog have experienced some type of difficult health situation, for yourselves, a friend or family member.  It’s also what makes so many of us passionate about helping others through their illness.  It’s why Patient Navigator exists. Since it’s the New Year, most people take some type of inventory of their…

Caregivers

“Advocates Help Patients Navigate Health Care Maze”


On June 22, NPR reporter Richard Knox aired this story during the “Morning Edition” broadcast.  It was an excellent piece profiling efforts by an individual and a volunteer organization to help patients and families get the care they need to navigate our health care and elder care systems.  Each time the media does a piece on…

Cancer

Center for Mind-Body Medicine Training


I attended a four-day training sponsored by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. from June 11-14.   It is called CancerGuides II and it was extraordinary.  During this training, we learned to create safe, effective individualized programs of comprehensive and integrative care for people with cancer and their families.   I met hundreds of practitioners…

Cancer

Digital Solutions for Health Care


I’ve said in previous posts that we must move to digital records.  In the past weeks, I’ve heard horror stories about the inability of medical providers to communicate with each other.  I personally know that to be true.  I recently asked a doctor treating my daughter if he was planning to inform another specialist (separately…