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After reading a synopsis on how budget cuts could impact healthcare, a parallel thought is how the economy could influence cancer survival rates. What will the future bring and what is the impact on navigation?
After a recent navigation presentation, a participant approached me and commented, “Thank you, now I understand what our navigator does in her role.” The comment caused me to reflect...could that be the case where many of us work? Do people in our healthcare system know what we do?
A recent article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians (March/April 2011), “Global Cancer Statistics,” reviewed the burden of cancer. Sadly, the disease continues to rise due to non-modifiable and modifiable factors. Despite the “youth promising” cosmetics, pills, and lotions, aging is inevitable and with increased age comes a higher likelihood of getting cancer.
A recent article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians (March/April 2011), “Global Cancer Statistics,” called for diet modification and encouraged physical activity to help reduce the global cancer burden. A dietitian referral from navigators is appropriate as part of the treatment and survival plan.
Patient navigation and care coordination have been a focus in healthcare for several years because of the fragmentation that commonly occurs among access, diagnosis, and treatment. This strong national movement has evidence-based research to support the need, which has led cancer program-accrediting bodies to add patient navigation as a required standard.
When working with systems that are contemplating a navigation program or when navigators visit our site because they have been hired to navigate but can not seem to find their niche, this is a question everyone asks at the beginning. It is stressed throughout the navigation world that there is not a standardized navigation program that can fit everywhere.
Approximately, 5 years ago I applied for a job as a Lung Cancer Nurse Coordinator. My experience in oncology included working as a radiation oncology nurse and an infusion nurse. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what the new job entailed, but I was anxious to move on to something new.
With 1,479,350 people projected to be diagnosed with cancer this year, what is the chance that the majority will come in contact with a form of patient navigation? 50%? Or if narrowed to a nurse navigator, maybe 25%? At current, there is no way to calculate that number, but with more cancer programs initiating patient navigation programs, the vision is to increase their chance.
After the 2006 initiation of navigation networking in North Carolina, Mary Corey, a Pfizer representative, organized a second annual meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina, in the spring of 2007. Mollie Poletto, director of the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), shared her vision of navigation from the Harold Freeman model.
The North Carolina Oncology Navigator Association (NCONA) held its first formal meeting in 2008. A steering committee composed of nurse navigators that had met informally since 2006, composed a purpose, goals, and four committees: Steering, Membership, Communication, and Education. 
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