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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

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…

Patient Stories

Patient Navigator Works with the Elderly and Their Children


Local advocate serves as liaison between hospitalized father and out-of-state children. Patient Navigator was contacted by the adult daughter of an elderly man who was a patient at a top cancer hospital. She requested that our Houston-based navigator  Dr. Zorrilla accompany him to his oncologist appointments in order to relay information accurately between the oncology team, her…

Patient Stories

Patient Navigator Mediates Complicated Family Situations


Starting the end-of-life conversation. Nick’s wife had been very ill with an incurable disease for five years. She had begun to ask about end-of life options, especially hospice and palliative care.  Patient Navigator provided Nick and his wife with useful information that they could use to begin a family conversation.  We suggested local palliative care…

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

Lesson 1: Learn the Vocabulary


The doctors and nurses were using words I could not understand.  It was September 19, 1998.  I was in the emergency room of a large hospital in Falls Church, Virginia.  “I’m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Russell, but your daughter has a brain tumor.”  It was the first time in my life that I fainted.  When…

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…

Cancer

Patient Navigators Guide Us Through the Medical Maze


The March 29, 2009 edition of Parade magazine featured an article about the new specialty of patient navigation.  The article highlights some of what navigators can do.  For now, the National Cancer Institute has undertaken several pilot projects to train and deploy navigators in medically underserved areas.   But as the article also correctly points out, patient navigators…

Cancer

A Cancer Diagnosis: 10 Things You Need to Know


 A cancer diagnosis thrusts patients and their families into an unfamiliar world of doctors, tests and treatment options.  They must simultaneously find information, make decisions under pressure, seek the best medical care, cope with family changes, and deal with insurance, financial, employment, caregiver or school issues.  Here are 10 suggestions to help you as you…

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