Navigators help patients diagnosed with breast cancer

Navigators help patients diagnosed with breast cancer (Image 1)

A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for patients but a new program in Nashville has found a way to help.

Sharon Rhett is a patient navigator at TriStar's Centennial Medical Center.  As part of her job, she helps those diagnosed with breast cancer ease the pain of the treatment process and is there to answer any questions they may have along the way.

Becky Tigert had just moved to the Nashville area when she was diagnosed.

She told Nashville's News 2, “It's like hitting a brick wall.  You don't know what to do or where to go and when it first happens, you have five or six appointments at five or six locations and you don't know what to do.”

As a breast cancer navigator, Rhett showed Tigert where to go and how to get there.

“She did the scheduling and she met me and it was a wonderful, miracle relief to have her,” Tigert continued.

Medical research supports the program too.  Studies show patients with a navigator not only have higher survival rates, they experience better outcomes and satisfaction throughout the treatment process.

There's also, of course, an emotional component to the relationship.

“I was scared, trembling [and embarrassed],” Tigert recalled.  “I was crying and just embarrassed and all of a sudden she came along.  [There was no] small talk… She was dedicated to me to help me not have those feelings.”

“Women who face the diagnosis of breast cancer undergo a lot of physical and emotional distress and it brings on a lot of anxiety,” Rhett explained, adding, “their family can't help with or understand what they are going through.”

For more information on Tri-Star's breast cancer navigator program, call 615-342-1919, toll-free at 1-800-242-5662 or visit

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