Patient navigation is the process of a joining a newly diagnosed patients with cancer with a health care professional who has been specifically trained to guide patients through the complex journey of diagnosis and cancer treatment.
According to a study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, patients with high-risk disease and minority patients may receive better breast cancer care if they are linked to a patient navigator.
The study used data from a previously published multicenter study funded by the National Cancer Institute that looked to identify the benefits of assigning patient navigators to recently diagnosed patients. Naomi Ko, MD, MPH, of the Boston University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, was a lead researcher on the study and highlights that the findings demonstrate a need to additional investigation.
Dr. Ko stated that the study showed that there may be a great benefit from assigning patient navigators to patients with cancer, but there is still significant research to be done to determine how and why patient navigation works.
The goal is to conduct research that makes it clear exactly who will benefit the most from patient navigation and in what situations in order to help patients who need that assistance.
Patient navigation, or the linking of a newly diagnosed cancer patient with a professional trained in assisting patients though the complex journey of cancer diagnosis and treatment, may lead to better breast cancer care in high risk and minority women. The findings, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is the first national study to show a relationship between navigators and the initiation of certain recommended treatments in breast cancer.