For any woman (and for some men), hearing the words "You have breast cancer” transforms and affects all aspects of your life. Common feelings are shock, anger, disbelief, grief and great uncertainty.
Understandably, a common first reaction is that you are eager to have treatment implemented immediately because you are afraid the “cancer will spread," but, it is essential to assure you that sometimes, additional time is needed to gather and evaluate more detailed information, thus allowing for an informed decision and the best plan of care for you. This additional time taken is safe and does not negatively impact your prognosis. In fact, it is a normal and important part of the treatment process.
This is why at the Huntington Cancer Center we have Nurse (RN) Navigators assisting you from the point of diagnosis completely through to support services you will need after your treatment is completed.
Meet Nancy and Tina...Your Nurse Navigators
Nancy Cushing or Tina Ivie will contact you within 24 hours after your breast cancer diagnosis. Together, Tina and Nancy have more than 18 years as registered nurses caring for San Gabriel Valley breast cancer patients.
It is an honor and a privilege to care for you and to serve as your Nurse Navigators. We will provide education about treatment options and personal support while facilitating timely treatment. When we contact you, we review the information and recommendations provided to you by the breast radiologist and answer questions and concerns accordingly. We will encourage you to contact your primary care physician as soon as possible for a prompt referral to a breast surgeon.
Fundamental to our mission at the Huntington Hospital Breast Cancer Center, we believe breast cancer care is very much a team effort. Your primary care doctor may also refer you to other doctors who specialize in the treatment of breast cancer. Surgeons and radiation oncologists provide local treatment (ie: surgery and radiation therapy), while medical oncologists give drug therapies to destroy cancer cells that may have spread beyond the breast.
Treatments for breast cancer may include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Clinical trials may also be available as well.
Your treatment plan is based on your specific type of cancer, hormone receptor status, HER 2neu status, how the tumor cells look under a microscope, tumor size and any tumor spread.
At your first surgical consultation, we will help you arrange to have with you copies of your imaging (mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, usually on a CD with the reports) and a copy of your pathology report.
Also be sure to bring the bottles of all of your medications you take, both by doctor’s prescription and over the counter. This should include vitamins and herbal products. The bottle should indicate the name of the medication, the dose you take, and how often you take it.
Be sure to bring your insurance card, a photo ID and if you have more than one insurance provider, please bring both cards.
In order to prepare ahead of time for your consultation you may wish to:
- Write down any questions you may have.
- Bring a pen and notebook with you to take notes.
- Arrange for a friend or family member to come with you as you are given a lot of information and it is helpful to have someone else listen, take notes, and provide support.
Every person will respond differently to a diagnosis of breast cancer but we know that quality and compassionate care are essential to the recovery process. Family, friends, physicians, nurses, dietitians and social workers among others can all be instrumental in your emotional and physical recovery. It is very important to remember that breast cancer today is very treatable and that the goal of treatment is cure as well as quality of life.
Again, we are honored to have the opportunity to facilitate your treatment plan, treatment, and follow up care. Most importantly, we reassure you and your family every step of the way. At Huntington Breast Cancer Center, we are here for you!