Navigating Breast Cancer with Ashley Mayes

//Navigating Breast Cancer with Ashley Mayes

Navigating Breast Cancer with Ashley Mayes

When I was approached to share what a Nurse Navigator does and about the changes that have occurred in Liberty Hospital Women’s Imaging (LHWI) over the past year, I jumped at the opportunity. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many organizations show support during this time, but breast cancer isn’t only important in October. Both men and women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day, 365 days a year. In fact, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. LHWI has always been an advocate for early detection of breast cancer. Last year, the role of a fellowship-trained Breast Radiologist and Breast Oncology Nurse Navigator was added to improve patient care. As a Nurse Navigator I’ve often been asked, “Do you show patients around the hospital”? My reply is always the same; I help our breast cancer patients navigate their cancer journey. Over the course of a year the navigator role has evolved to assist patients from the time they are told they need a breast biopsy to supporting patients through surgery and further cancer treatments.

When abnormal imaging occurs…
Most often when our breast radiologist, Dr. Amy Patel, speaks with patients to inform them they need a breast biopsy, patients are scared. Most patients describe feeling like they have lost control of many aspects of their lives. As the Nurse Navigator, I meet with patients and educate them and their loved ones on the procedure and next steps to try to give some of that understanding and control back. I encourage patients to reach out with questions or fears as I tell them I can be a listening ear or familiar face during their journey.

Breast cancer diagnosis…
Following the diagnosis of breast cancer is when my role becomes most important. I strive to provide support, emotional and physical, during this difficult time and ensure the appropriate appointments have been scheduled in a timely manner. It is my responsibility to advocate for patients. It is imperative patients feel they have a plan in place the day they are given a cancer diagnosis. I take care of scheduling all appointments, but first and foremost, to a surgeon, to provide a seamless transition between healthcare providers.

Breast cancer surgery…
When the patient has an initial appointment at the surgeon’s office I make every effort to attend. This is usually the first step for a patient to discuss the type of breast cancer they have and what their treatment plan may look like. After the surgeon has discussed next steps with the patient and a plan is developed, I can begin to make any follow-up appointments needed, provide accurate breast cancer education, and share supportive services to the patient. I also provide post-operative education to patients admitted to the hospital following a mastectomy.

Next steps…
I always tell patients you may not see or speak to me every day, but once I’m your Nurse Navigator, I’m always your Nurse Navigator. I was recently told by a patient and her spouse that my optimistic attitude put them at ease each visit I had with them. It was enlightening for me to hear this, as I want patients and their loved ones to know they are not alone.

I am here: a friendly face, a listening ear, a patient advocate, and a Nurse Navigator to support you through your breast cancer journey.

If you have a question for Ashley, please reach out – she is here to help!

By |2019-10-15T17:55:33-06:00October 15th, 2019|News Releases|0 Comments