How Patient Navigators Help in Dealing With Cancer Decisions

Kevin Kalinsky, MD, assistant professor of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and cancer patient naviagor, Eileen Fuentes, were featured on a CBS segment about the importance of having patient navigators. Fuentes, of New York Presbyterian-Columbia, can be a life saver. As a patient navigator and a 10-year breast cancer survivor herself, her job is to translate “doctor talk” into plain English – or Spanish – for patients and then help handle the huge amount of logistics involved. In the segment, CBS interviewed one of Dr. Kalinsky's patients who has a genetic mutation that put her at risk for early breast cancer. She was diagnosed at age 33 with triple positive cancer. This meant that there were multiple targeted drugs that would attack her cancer, said Dr. Kalinsky, emphasizing the progress that’s being made against breast cancer. His patient had pre-op chemo, a double mastectomy, and reconstruction. She credits her navigator with making it all manageable. CBSNewYork has the full segment and transcript.