Advances in screening and treatment of lung cancer has reduced some of the heartbreak of this diagnosis, but treatment can be complex and challenging for patients without the help of a navigator.
Lung cancer navigation is hard work. It has never been more important for patients with lung cancer to have navigation than it is today. With the vast array of advancements in screening, diagnostic evaluation, and treatment, it is easy for patients to become “just a number.”
There are many different styles of navigation. I am biased to my experience with patient-focused navigation, especially related to barriers of lung cancer screening, initial work-up, and treatment. Empowering patients to overcome barriers is vital to prevent delays in care and suboptimal outcomes.
Lung cancer screening is receiving more attention as it proves to find lung cancer at an earlier stage, when it is much more likely to be amenable to curative treatment. There are still many barriers to lung cancer screening. Caregivers and patients frequently do not have a good understanding of what lung cancer screening is. A nurse navigator is uniquely well-suited to coordinate the screening program. The nurse navigator can address the need for education while coordinating the other pieces of the program. Also, when there is a suspicious finding of cancer, the nurse navigator can assist in efficient evaluation and treatment. Utilization of a multidisciplinary approach to evaluate lung screening results is of the utmost importance to decrease the risks of false positives, complications from procedures, and overdiagnosis.
|Read on: Navigating Lung Cancer: Screening, Treatment, and Post-Treatment Considerations|