April 23, 2024
Navigating Breast Cancer

Photo: Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare

Economic Backbone: Breast Cancer

Navigating Breast Cancer

Carlton Proctor | 10/23/2023

Breast cancer mortality rates in Florida have fallen by nearly 45% over the past two decades, according to the Florida Department of Health. The notable decline is attributed to early detection programs, new and highly effective drugs, and improved treatment and surgical procedures.

But another, perhaps overlooked aspect of these improvements is the network of patient support programs that reach well beyond hospitals and doctors’ offices. Katie Stuck, an oncology social worker at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, explains some of the programs and resources available to TMH patients.

  • Bridging Gaps: “When a new breast cancer patient comes in, one of the first people they will see is the nurse navigator, who will inquire as to any barriers to care that the patients may have that could be a roadblock to fast and effective treatment. This could be lack of transportation, no insurance or insurance that does not cover things like very high copays or expensive tests. The nurse navigator will send me a report and that’s when I begin to look at what resources we have within TMH and our foundation and also through other outside agencies that can offer support for the breast cancer patient.”
  • Financial Assistance: “Last year, our foundation paid the cost of 1,100 taxi rides for patients who could not afford the transportation back and forth to receive treatment. We also paid for 160 PET scans and MRIs. PET scans, which cost about $1,800, are absolutely essential for anybody with cancer. The foundation serves as an important safety net for our patient advocates and nurse navigators who know they can turn to us and not lose time beginning to treat this disease because the patient has no insurance and cannot afford to pay for expensive procedures such as PET scans or MRIs.”

Tags: Healthcare, Feature, Economic Backbone: Breast Cancer

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