Support & Wellness Services
After a cancer diagnosis, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. You may have questions about your treatment options. You may feel worried about how the diagnosis will affect your health and life.
At the Breast Center, we offer comprehensive support services to help you navigate your treatment journey smoothly. Our dedicated breast patient navigator is at your side through every step to offer compassion, coordinate your appointments and connect you with extra resources.
What is a certified breast patient navigator?
A certified breast patient navigator is a both a support person and a specially trained expert. This member of your care team can help to explain treatments in easy-to-understand terms or answer additional questions. They can also provide emotional support, such as offering a hand for holding or an ear for listening.
At Adventist Health St. Helena, our breast patient navigator, Marlene Lennon, RN, MSN, FNP-C, CN-BP, offers unique support, because she is a breast cancer survivor. She knows that receiving a cancer diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming. She understands the unique needs that come up during treatment, as well as some of the potential concerns you will have after treatment has ended.
Marlene has worked in many areas related to cancer care, including hospital care, private practice, chemotherapy administration, home IV therapy and hospice care. She also worked in a private Family Practice Group until her breast cancer diagnosis in 2008. Since then, her passion shifted to focus on helping others going through the experience of breast cancer. Since joining Dr. Elboim’s practice in 2009, she has co-developed a cancer survivorship program that offers holistic and creative ways to wellness after cancer.
How can a breast patient navigator help me?
Your breast patient navigator can help you with questions and concerns such as:
- How do all the members of my treatment team work together? What is the difference between all these specialists?
- How can I manage the potential side effects of cancer treatment?
- What are my options for supportive medical equipment, such as wigs or breast prostheses?
- Are there support groups where I can connect with other breast cancer patients or survivors?
Support services and wellness resources
Throughout your treatment, some of the supportive services you may access could include:
- Support groups: Our breast patient navigator, oncology-certified survivorship nurse practitioner and social worker co-lead an eight-week support group called “A Time to Heal.” Each class includes a guided meditation, group check-in and educational period. Educational components may focus on topics such as building resilience, nutrition, intimacy and sexuality, imagining your healthy self and moving forward in the face of fear.
- Pet therapy: If desired, women can spend time with our navigator’s service dog, who accompanies her to meet with patients. This pet therapy provides many patients with comfort and a boost in their spirits.
- Patient education: The breast patient navigator provides initial information regarding a breast cancer diagnosis and can also direct you to additional resources that help you to better understand your diagnosis and treatment. For example, you may want extra education on medications or how to manage treatment side effects.
Self-care during cancer treatment
At Adventist Health St. Helena, we take a holistic approach to care. This care philosophy means that we prioritize your emotional, mental and spiritual well-being, as well as your physical health.
During cancer treatment, it’s important to build self-care practices. You may practice self-care during cancer treatment by:
- Engaging in mindfulness and gratitude practices
- Joining a support group
- Talking with a counselor or trusted loved one about your feelings
- Eating nourishing foods
- Learning deep breathing techniques to calm your nervous system
If you’re not sure where to start with self-care strategies, our breast patient navigator can help. We can also help you connect with external or community resources to find the support you need.
To learn more about the Breast Center at Adventist Health St. Helena, please call (707) 963-1912.