Blog

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

Uncategorized

Patient Navigators – Who We Are and What We Do


Patient advocacy, or patient navigation, is gaining attention as an emerging profession, both in the media and in the popular lexicon, because it fills so many gaps in the current American health care system. This is especially true today as we continue implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is changing the landscape for consumers in how health care is delivered and paid for in this country.

Cancer

How We Make Medical Decisions


The bewildering sensation of too much information, yet not enough knowledge to use it, is the reality for many people faced with a serious illness or condition. How do you decide what to do?

Cancer

Health Literacy Spotlight


Only 12% of Americans have proficient health literacy skills, so the majority of adults may have difficulty completing routine health tasks like understanding discharge instructions or diabetes care. There is a strong, independent association between health literacy and health outcomes.

Cancer

When Lightning Strikes


I received the news last week – two more friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer.   I cried.  This is the fourth friend in less than two years that has been diagnosed with cancer – a diagnosis that is frightening, life-altering and potentially life-ending. This isn’t fair.  Why is this happening? These are all…

Mental Health

Depression – One Size Does Not Fit All


We’ve all seen the endless television commercials in which sad and dejected people suddenly start looking happy after taking the particular pill being advertised. However, it’s just not that simple. Depression is a mood disorder that comes in different forms.

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

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

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

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

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…