Cancer Support and Guidance for Patients and Their Families
If you’ve ever been told you have cancer, you probably remember that dreadful feeling, as if the bottom had just dropped out of your life. It quickly became clear that cancer is not just a health problem; it is a disease that affects you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It affects your whole family. It can leave you feeling frightened.
You do not have to feel alone. Reach out to a Mercy Cancer Nurse Navigator today. Call 330-430-2788 or complete our online form below.
What Is a Cancer Nurse Navigator?
A cancer nurse navigator provides support for cancer patients, guiding you and your loved ones through the sometimes confusing array of concerns that come with a cancer diagnosis.
Do I Have to Pay for a Cancer Nurse Navigator?
Cancer help from a nurse navigator at Mercy is among our free services for cancer patients. We never charge a patient for nurse navigator assistance!
How Can I Access Cancer Help From a Nurse Navigator?
At Mercy, no referral is needed for cancer support from a nurse navigator. Call 330-430-2788 to speak to one of our nurse navigators or complete our online form.
How Long Will a Nurse Navigator Provide Me With Cancer Counseling?
Navigators are available to you at Mercy Cancer Center at any point in your cancer journey, from a pre-diagnosis screening to survivorship. They can help you organize your care, answer questions about your treatment or side effects, and help you access cancer assistance services and a cancer support community. Sometimes, a navigator is just a shoulder to cry on when you need it most.
I Am Concerned About Paying for Cancer Screenings and Treatment. Can a Nurse Navigator Help Me?
Perhaps you have a disconcerting symptom and need to have it evaluated. If you have risk factors such as smoking, or a strong family history of cancer, you may be especially worried about symptoms such as weight loss, cough, a new pain, or a lump you felt when showering. You might have a medical doctor to refer you to necessary services, and insurance to pay for a full evaluation. You might not.
Mercy Cancer Nurse Navigators are experts at finding services for cancer patients. They can help you access the screening and workup that you need to put your mind at ease or to confirm your suspicions. The navigator may also help you find a charitable organization or financial aid program so that you can afford necessary testing.
What Are Some Examples of How a Cancer Patient Navigator Provides Care at Mercy?
Mercy Cancer Nurse Navigators offer assistance for cancer patients on many levels.
On the day you have a test, you might be frightened. A cancer nurse navigator can hold your hand if needed. She may answer questions about what to expect. She will likely offer you emotional support as you anxiously await test results.
Maybe you don’t know how to talk to your children or the well-meaning people in your life who try to advise you. Your navigator will provide you with information on how to talk to others or even refer you to appropriate community services to help deal with complicated family dynamics.
You have to find the right doctor and treatment for you and your disease. Navigators can help. In addition to helping you locate the services you need, your navigator might help you find transportation for cancer patients that will get you to and from appointments, as well as co-pay assistance to help pay for your care.
Your navigator spends time explaining things to you in a way you can understand and will answer questions in terms you can relate to. That can include:
- Helping you organize the stacks of medical paperwork and bills you are accumulating.
- Explaining which medications treat which side effects.
- Visiting you when side effects bring you to the hospital.
- Connecting you with a case manager when you have new needs at home or with clinical trials staff to help you and your physician find innovative approaches to the treatment of your disease.
- Referring you to Mercy’s complementary therapy program (services designed to help you deal with the stress of cancer), one of Mercy’s cancer support groups, or to a counselor adept at managing the unique emotional needs of the individual with cancer.
- Helping you apply for short-term or long-term disability benefits, if necessary.
Do I Have to See a Nurse Navigator All the Time During Treatment?
Your navigator is like a touchstone throughout the treatment process: answering questions, providing information and reassurance, supporting you each step of the way as much or as little as you require.
As you begin to settle into your treatment routine, you will become an expert at managing your cancer care. You may need your navigator less and less for the day to day management of your cancer. Your navigator’s goal is to help you through the process and give you the tools to help yourself.
What Happens After I’m Done With Cancer Treatment?
The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) says “an individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis through the balance of his or her life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also impacted by the survivorship experience and are therefore included in this definition.”
Your nurse navigator is available to support you throughout survivorship as you begin your “new normal” and may help you access a Survivorship Care Plan. This document is a summary of the treatment you have had. However, it is much more than that.
- It is a surveillance guide, reminding you and your doctors what symptoms to watch for and what routine monitoring you will need.
- The care plan is reassuring because it reminds you that you are not simply waiting. You are fighting your cancer, but you are fighting it differently. Now, you are pursuing a healthy lifestyle and focusing on recovery. These steps are just as important now as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery were when your cancer journey began.
No matter where you are in your cancer journey, Mercy Cancer Center is here for you. Cancer Nurse Navigators are available to walk the journey with you, wherever it may lead, and however long it takes.