Cancer Patient Navigator
WHAT IS A CANCER NAVIGATOR
A cancer patient navigator is an individual trained to help identify and resolve real and perceived barriers to care, enabling patients to adhere to care recommendations and thus improve their cancer outcomes.
WHAT IS CANCER NAVIGATION
A person who helps guide a patient through the healthcare system. This includes help going through the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of a medical condition, such as cancer. A patient navigator helps patients communicate with their healthcare providers so they get the information they need to make decisions about their health care. Patient navigators may also help patients set up appointments for doctor visits and medical tests and get financial, legal, and social support. They may also work with insurance companies, employers, case managers, lawyers, and others who may have an effect on a patient’s healthcare needs. Also called patient advocate.
Navigation is the individualized assistance given to patients, caregivers and their families to help them to overcome the many barriers faced on the very daunting Cancer journey from diagnosis, through treatment into survivorship and end of life.
INTRODUCING OUR FILOTIMO CANCER NAVIGATOR
What I do
I am a Personal Breast Cancer Navigator/Coach and Speaker. Navigation is the the individualized assistance given to patients to help overcome the challenges of the very daunting cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment and into Survivorship. My passion is Survivorship and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and exercise from a physical and mental perspective.
Breast Health Foundation SA Advocacy and Navigation Training:
I received Oncology Patient Navigation Training: The Fundamentals from the George Washington Cancer Centre in Washington DC, U.S.A. I also underwent Breast Cancer Recovery Specialist Advanced Training from the CETI Cancer Exercise Training Institute in the U.S.A.
A Patient Navigator helps educate, guide and support you through your Cancer Journey. From Diagnosis: Helping you to understand your diagnosis, to prepare you mentally and physically before acute phase treatment starts, if possible (Pre-habilitation). Prehab is protection against the coming storm. Preparing questions for you to ask your doctors, providing you with evidence-based resources on your specific Cancer. What to expect during your treatment pre–surgery, chemo, radiation, endocrine therapy as well as immunotherapy. How to manage treatment side effects. To help and guide you with psychosocial issues, depression and anxiety and to refer you to Counsellors, Social Workers or Psychologists / Psychiatrists if necessary. Setting up convenient appointment times with all of your Health Care Professionals, assisting you with medical aid queries. Recommending support groups for you and your family.
Once treatment is complete and often for many patient's treatment may be ongoing, you then enter the Survivorship Phase of your journey. This transition between the phases is often very difficult. Suddenly you do not see your Health Care Providers as much, you do not have as many treatment appointments and intense monitoring. Although your life gets back to normal you are often in limbo and feel very vulnerable. Survivorship is ongoing. Cancer can be compared to any chronic disease, it has to be continuously managed and monitored. Survivorship Navigation helps keep you on track. Advising on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes healthy balanced diets, maintaining a healthy weight, exercise programs, smoking cessation, cutting down on alcohol and adherence to ongoing medicines or treatments. Having your recommended screenings and check-ups, especially the monitoring of late term cancer treatment side effects. This is all so vitally important to help keep you physically and mentally on top of your game and Cancer free.
There is so much evidence based research on the benefits of exercise, healthy balanced diets and maintaining a healthy body weight. Just 30 to 40 mins of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise 3–4 times per week such as walking / running or light weight bearing exercises can help prevent depression, anxiety and fatigue. Help improve body image and immune function, boost mental capacity, improve sleep. Prevent Osteoporosis and most importantly, help prevent Cancer reoccurrence.
Navigation also reduces the burden on Doctors who are so busy and have limited time, as well as medical systems, by saving time and costs like unnecessary visits to the emergency room and long hospital stays.
Navigation is such a necessary and vital health care service in both Public and Private medical sectors. In many countries around the world, including South Africa, the Public health care systems which serve the underserved and very poor have many more barriers to care. Limited access to lifesaving treatments and medicines, long waiting times for treatments and to see Doctors, especially Specialists. With the incredible advances in Cancer treatments and care more and more people are surviving Cancer and the need for Navigation increases exponentially.
I SPEAK, I COACH, I WRITE
Motivational talks, workshops, mentoring and coaching
I love using motivational speaking to inspire, motivate and educate in order to make a difference in the lives of all I come into contact with.
A remarkable journey to recovery, weaving its way through my athletics, running and coaching, to my challenging and powerful encounter with cancer - to inspire, motivate and educate.
A challenging and powerful encounter with cancer - a remarkable chronicle of my journey from the dreaded news, to recovery, restoration and fresh new beginnings - to inspire, motivate and educate.
Discovering your motivation and unleashing the key mental benefits of running and an exercise routine that will energize and invigorate your body and mind - to inspire, motivate and educate.
Healthy Body & Mind
Unearthing the vital and natural ingredients to a healthy diet - and art of choosing your life-nourishing supplements wisely. Returning your body and mind to vitality - to inspire, motivate and educate.
Overcome terminal illness
A challenging and powerful encounter with a serious illness? Realize a remarkable journey from the dreaded news, to recovery, restoration and fresh new beginnings - to inspire, motivate and educate.
Peak Sports Performance
The art of developing and maintaining optimal sports accomplishment on a consistent basis requires discipline, commitment, consistency and a commitment to yourself and excellence - to inspire, motivate and educate.
Navigating Cancer is also a treacherous and daunting journey. Hearing the words “You have Cancer" strikes fear into the very depths of your soul. It is incredibly overwhelming and causes so much fear and often ambivalence.
NICOLE FULLER CERTIFICATIONS
Johannesburg, South Africa
Breast Health Foundation – Breast Cancer Advocacy and Navigation training - December 2018.
George Washington University – Oncology Patient Navigation Training: The Fundamentals - January 2019.
George Washington University – Cancer Survivorship E-Learning Series for Primary Care Providers - January and February 2019.
Cancer Survivorship Training for Health Care Professionals: Survivorship Care: Who, What, When, Where, Why, how - 3rd April 2019.
Cancer Survivorship Training for Health Care Professionals: Patient Navigations and Adherence - 29th April 2019.
C.E.T.I Cancer Exercise training Institute USA: Breast Cancer Recovery Exercise Specialist - July 1st 2019.
Patient Navigator Training Collaborative: Motivational Interviewing and Cancer Screening - 01-22-2020.
Patient Navigator Training collaborative: Introduction to the Health Care System - 01-19-2020.
PRACTICAL TRAINING (Navigation)
Helen Joseph Academic / Government Hospital Johannesburg, Breast Care Clinic under Professor Carol Ann Benn. Commencing 7th February 2019 to current date 2020 Bi – weekly on a volunteer basis.
Assisting Patients with queries regarding our Breast Care Clinic.
Assisting first time/visit Patients with medical history forms and reasons for consultation.
Receiving and Checking Core Biopsy results from Mammogram department for Patients medical files for follow up with Doctors.
Accessing histology/pathology from the National Health Laboratory Computer System which are checked and placed in the relevant Patients medical files for follow up appointments with the Surgeons.
Assisting Patients with bookings of appointments for mammogram and biopsies.
Preparing, educating and Counselling Patients Pre surgery, pre chemotherapy and pre radiation.
Assisting with tracking of Patients who have delayed waiting times for Radiation treatment due to backlog and systems failure and a very fractured Government Health Care System.
AFFILIATIONS AND EXPERIENCES
Campaigned and Pitched to Joe Public Advertising Agency October 18th 2018 on Breast Cancer Awareness, Early detection, barriers and Stigma’s for Jet, South African National Retail clothing stores on behalf of Breast Health Foundation. The Campaign ‘’Clear the Stigma’’ was awarded to The Breast Health Foundation in Collaboration with Jet stores for Breast Cancer Awareness during Pink October 2019.
Breast Health Foundation Bosom Buddies Support Group Committee Member.
Oncology Breast Cancer Forums Donald Gordon Hospital, Johannesburg bi monthly – Regular Attendee.
ABC Advocates for Breast Cancer – Committee Member. To ensure implementation of South Africa’s new Breast Cancer and Control Policy ( 2017.) Aimed at prioritizing breast cancer awareness, prevention, treatment and care in South Africa.
Joined AONN, Academy for Nurse and Patient Navigators 2019-02-03 AONN (CE). Continuing Education, Journals, Virtual Conferences, Whitepapers, and Webinars.
6th Annual Africa We Can Breast & Cervical Cancer Advocacy Summit, Johannesburg South Africa March 15 – 16, 2019 and member of the We Can Africa Breast and Cervical Cancer Organisation.
Innovation in Breast Cancer Workshop – Netcare Milpark Hospital Johannesburg. Prof C A Benn. Breast Care Centre of Excellence - June 14th 2019
BIGOSA Breast Interest Group of Southern Africa – Early Breast Cancer Symposium. Johannesburg, South Africa. October 12th 2019.
Launched my own private Navigation, Coaching and Speaking Business 18th April 2020. I advise, educate, provide guidance as well as evidence based resources, encourage self advocacy. Educate patients and survivors on the benefits of exercise and custom design exercise programs for breast cancer patients/survivors.
Accepted to write the (AONN) Academy of Nurse and Patient Navigators Oncology Generalist exam May 2020 in Baltimore USA. Due to Covid – 19 the exam has been postponed to November 2020.
Health.co.za, a health and wellness online platform published my articles. My Breast cancer journey – Indescribable fear to remarkable recovery 23 April 2020. The benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle for cancer patients 13th May 2020. The impact of Covid 19 on our cancer patients 14th May 2020. The funny side of Covid–19, 11 June 2020 Scanxiety 20th June 2020. Cryptic Covid – 19 is turning numbers into names, the people we know, 21st July 2020. In honour of our Doctors – they are human just like us, 11th August 2020. Soulful Purpose 8th September 2020. Have a sense of purpose & resilience facing breast cancer 8th October 2020. The Covid–19 Enigma 20th January 2021.
Attended the AONN May 2020 Midyear Virtual Conference 14 to 17 May.
Partnered with the Filotimo Cancer Project June 2020 founded by Evy Michalopoulos this (NPO) Non-profit organisation supports, advises and educates Cancer patients and their families. I Navigate, counsel as well as promote the benefits of exercise for Cancer patients through Filotimo fitness. We also do weekly zoom webinars on Cancer related topics.
Attended Kilele Challenge Webinar addressing Cancer survivorship challenges in Africa 27 August 2020.
Joined the CANSA Association of South Africa - As a professional volunteer, Advocacy, Navigation, Training, Ambassador for CANSA Active and CANSA relay for life - August 2020.
CANSA Association of South Africa – Advocacy workshop training 24 and 25 August 2020.
CANSA Association of South Africa – Lead Volunteer summit training 2nd and 3rd October 2020.
Returned to Helen Joseph Hospital Breast Care Clinic 6th of October 2020 after absence since March 23 2020 due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. Navigation and Counselling.
Invited to DHL International Courier Company Breast Cancer Awareness Webinar to address employees across the African Continent on Breast Cancer Awareness and education as well as my personal Breast Cancer Journey - 20th, 21st and 22nd October 2020.
End October 2020 – Completed the Cancer Association of South Africa’s Online training on Patient Care, health promotion, balanced lifestyle and Nutrition. Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Skin Cancer, Radiation and Chemotherapy.
Attended the AONN Academy of Nurse and Patient Navigators Online Conference 1 – 7 November 2020.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR CANCER NAVIGATOR SERVICES CONTACT US
Some interesting facts about Cancer Patient Navigation
Hearing the words, you have cancer, is extremely overwhelming for both the patient and the family. Often in shock or denial the patient does not take in or understand what is being said by the Doctor.
As a Navigator you can help ease the shock by accompanying the patient to the Doctor and either writing down information or recording the consultation with permission from the patient, family and the Doctor. This can then be replayed or re explained to the patient and family when they are better able to absorb the information.
To offer psycho social support by asking the patient if they understand what challenges they are facing and their own perceptions, goals needs and abilities. Listen to their questions, determine if they need more professional psychological help.
To provide evidence based resources to the patient and the families on their specific diagnosis not Dr google. To encourage the patient to self advocate or take charge by providing the resources, encouraging the patient to write down any questions they have for their doctors. Whether it be for the Surgeon, the Medical Oncologist, or the radiation Oncologist.
To explain and prepare the patient for the type of treatment that has been recommended. What to expect how it works, the treatment related side effects, the duration of their treatment. Providing resources and giving tips and advice. Whether it be pre and post surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or endocrine/Her 2 treatment, and know immunotherapy.
To make patients aware of clinical trials and educate on how they work and making younger patients aware of fertility preservation prior to commencement of treatment.
To encourage and make the patients aware of being compliant with medications and drug interactions, having their recommended follow-up appointments, check-ups, scans.
So vitally important and so often neglected. Often known as lost in transition suddenly your treatment is complete. Not as many scheduled appointments. Time to get on with normal life which can be extremely differ cult. As a cancer patient your life is never normal, survivors need consistent monitoring for reoccurrences and late term treatment related side effects which can occur many years after treatment is complete, advice on quality of life, lifestyle, diet, and exercise.
Components of Survivorship care:
Prevention of new and reoccurring cancers. Through health and wellness promotion and screening.
Surveillance for reoccurrence of new primary cancers.
Intervention for long term and late effects of treatment.
Co – Ordination of care between Specialists, Oncologists, General Practitioners, Navigators, Psycho-Social support, Exercise specialists.
Survivorship Navigation can provide:
Survivorship care plans, help in the transition from treatment to survivorship, referrals to support services, palliative care referrals, hospice referrals and bereavement programs.
I HAVE AN EXCELLENT ONCOLOGIST, WHY WOULD I NEED YOUR SERVICES?
Your medical oncologist is first and foremost trained and licensed as a CLINICIAN, who coordinates your ongoing treatment within the hospital based on well-established guidelines, called “Standard of Care”.
We will also help patients to gain access to these promising and emerging therapies faster - an important service that is usually not provided by your clinician.
CAN I STILL WORK CLOSELY WITH MY ONCOLOGIST?
Absolutely! Collaboration with physicians is important to our collective success in treating your cancer.
We respect the relationship you have with your oncology team, and we hope to offer options that you and your oncologist feel comfortable with.