The Value of Patient Navigation for Cancer Patients

Patient navigators guide patients through the complexities of cancer care.A recent article in the Washington Post was headlined “‘Navigators’ for cancer patients: A nice perk or something more?”

A “nice perk”? It certainly seems like anything that would help to lessen the confusion for patients and help them obtain and adhere to treatment would improve outcomes and help keep costs down too. I took a closer look at the article and especially at the main research study it was reporting on.

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Breast Cancer “Standard of Care”: Standard for All?

Many women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States are not receiving what is considered to be "standard of care."When we look at the progress that has been made against breast cancer over the last twenty years, an essential measure is mortality, how many lives are actually being saved.

The big picture story is that mortality from breast cancer for the U.S. population as a whole has declined somewhat, but not nearly as much as might have been expected given the emphasis on screening over the last twenty years.

But looking deeper reveals an even more disturbing story. Continue reading