“What now?” It’s a seemingly simple question. For more than 330,000 women in the U.S. who will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer this year, this simple question carries tremendous weight and is compounded by the complexity of our health care system.
Fortunately, getting a comprehensive answer will soon be easier thanks to a new service being launched by Diagnostic Imaging Northwest in Puyallup. “We’ve designed the new Pathways to Care program to streamline navigating what happens after receiving a positive breast cancer diagnosis,” explains radiologist Alison Reinbold, MD. The foundation of the program is to quickly get women information about their diagnosis and to expedite the transition to specialty physicians for treatment.
After a patient’s biopsy results are finalized, she meets with nurse practitioner and breast health specialist, Jennifer Witte, for a consultation. “We understand women that have had a breast biopsy are often experiencing a high level of anxiety so we encourage them to bring a family member or a friend with them to the consultation visit for added support as they receive their results. During the consultation, it is an opportunity for me to spend a significant amount of time offering reassurance and support for a woman and her family “ shares Witte.
“It’s really like breast cancer 101. We discuss the diagnosis, what it means, and what happens next.” Witte provides each patient with an explanation of her pathology report, including in-depth information about her specific type of cancer, how it is known to behave, and which treatment options are likely to be presented by the oncologist and surgeon. Most importantly, by the end of the consultation, appointments for treatment have been scheduled with the specialty physicians.
“Pathways to Care relieves some of the mental stress so that a woman and her family can cope with the diagnosis of breast cancer,” notes Witte. “I’m here to hold their hand and be a point of contact so they don’t feel like they have to figure it out alone. I want to provide them with hope and to remind them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
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Diagnostic Imaging Northwest