Breast Care Support
An ally for women battling breast cancer
Dealing with the myriad of emotions and the many decisions surrounding a breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. That's why Ellis Medicine now has a Breast Health Nurse Navigator, a registered nurse who provides support and guidance to breast cancer patients throughout diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Ellis' Breast Health Nurse Navigator is Kim Stefanik, R.N., a nursing veteran, breast care advocate and a longtime breast cancer survivor herself. She helps patients and their families navigate the healthcare system by facilitating care plans and providing assistance with medical and all other ancillary breast care services.
More importantly, Stefanik is available on a one-on-one basis to help explain the options or just to listen. "When women learn they may be facing a diagnosis of breast cancer, everything stops," Stefanik explains. "They are scared, and it's hard for them to process all the information they're receiving. My role is to calmly support them, answer their questions and empower them to make decisions about their treatment by ensuring they have the information they need."
Ellis Medicine's Breast Health Nurse Navigator steps in to meet a patient at the time of an abnormal finding and begins by making sure patients are scheduled for the most appropriate diagnostic testing within a few days, not weeks. Once a diagnosis is confirmed and the cancer is staged, a multidisciplinary team convenes to develop a coordinated care plan. The Navigator is there, providing guidance and support, every step of the way: serving as the main point of contact for women facing breast cancer and their families; scheduling appointments; making sure necessary paperwork is completed; and working closely with the Ellis-affiliated radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, oncologists and other specialists to coordinate care. For patients, coordinated care translates into better outcomes - a better shot at beating cancer.
"This is such an important and needed service in our community," Stefanik says. "I know how frightening and overwhelming a cancer diagnosis can be. I also know about the outstanding services available locally for cancer patients at Ellis Medicine."
In addition to her role as Breast Health Nurse Navigator, Stefanik also facilitates Ellis' Healing Thru Sharing support group, which helps women understand and cope with many fears that come with a breast cancer diagnosis, including those relating to surgery, treatment and alteration of body image. The support group provides women who have or have had breast cancer or other types of cancer, with an intimate setting in which to share their experiences, learn coping techniques, and find emotional support through the strength and warmth of others.
The Breast Health Nurse Navigator is part of Ellis Medicine's comprehensive women's health program, which provides a full range of woman's care services through a lifetime of changing health and wellness needs.
For more information about the Breast Care services at Ellis Medicine or the Healing Thru Sharing support group, please call 518.347.3310.