West Penn Allegheny Health System Nurse Navigators Lead the Way For Breast Cancer Patients

New Program Provides Women with Lifelong Guidance and Support Through Diagnosis, Treatment and Survivorship

A breast cancer diagnosis brings with it fear and panic. Questions race through a woman’s mind: What will happen to me? What will my treatment be like? How will I manage?

It is at that moment when the new Nurse Navigator program at West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) steps in. The Nurse Navigator will provide women with compassionate guidance through their initial diagnosis, through treatment and into survivorship, serving as a lifelong, trusted ally for cancer patients and survivors.

“Our Nurse Navigators will be our breast cancer patients’ lifeline for care – answering questions, planning treatment and helping ease their fears,” said David S. Parda, MD, FACP, radiation oncologist and Chair of the West Penn Allegheny Health System Oncology Service Line. “As soon as a patient is diagnosed, a Nurse Navigator will begin supplying her with information and offering emotional support.

“As our medical experts work as a team to fight the patient’s cancer using  the most advanced diagnostic and treatment services available, the Nurse Navigators will make sure that patients are aware of their options and that they get the support they need, be it medical, emotional or logistical,” Dr. Parda continued.

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WVU’s Breast Care Center Provides Same-Day Screening Results

When a woman has a mammogram, she typically has to wait days before receiving the results from the screening. Recognizing the stress that this can cause, the  Betty Puskar Breast Care Center at West Virginia University’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown has begun providing same-day screening results.

“Women experience a lot of anxiety following a mammogram,” Barb Menear, manager of the Breast Care Center, said. “We are striving to eliminate that. Instead of waiting for a letter in the mail or a phone call, they simply wait in our solarium to receive their screening results. If they need further images or additional procedures, we do them that day before they head out the door.”

She added that several major breast care centers throughout the country are offering same-day results for mammography screenings, but WVU is one of the few offering the service in West Virginia.

And, the response has been favorable.

“Women tell us they love it,” Menear said. “They walk out knowing that they don’t need to come back for another year or that they need follow-up care.”

Same day screening results at WVU Healthcare’s Breast Care Center are offered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Women Veterans Healthcare

The Women Veteran’s Health (WVH) Strategic Health Care Group addresses the health care needs of women Veterans and works to ensure that timely, equitable, high-quality, comprehensive health care services are provided in a sensitive and safe environment at VA health facilities nationwide. Learn more about this great resource.

9 Stress-Busting Strategies For Women Going Through Cancer Treatment

By Flora Shepelsky and Sandra Dubrov

Although the link between stress and cancer is tenuous, research supports that chronic stress has a devastating effect on a person’s health and may negatively impact cancer recovery.  According to the Journal of Clinical Investigation, adrenaline, a stress hormone, can support the growth and spread of tumors.  A review of psychological studies and cancer treatment outcomes suggests that there may be a relationship between chronic stress and cancer.

Regardless, there’s no denying that being diagnosed with cancer is highly stressful.  The way a person approaches stress and how they cope with it may influence the quality of their health.  Chronic stress places the body in a state of constant inflammation, which opens the door for existing tumors to grow and spread.  According to Dale Sandler, Ph.D., chief of epidemiology at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, even perceiving yourself as stressed can have negative biological effects.  An American study suggests that stress-related psychological factors — such as fear, isolation and anxiety — can make breast cancer tumors more aggressive.

Follow these nine key stress-busting strategies that can help guide you through the process:

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Does Deodorant Ingredient Affect Breast Cancer Risk?

For several years, researchers have studied a possible link between substances called parabens — widely used as a germ-fighting preservative in cosmetics such as deodorant/antiperspirants — and breast cancer. Read more about in this USA Today article.

A Guide To Hair Replacement Options For Women Going Through Cancer Treatments

By Flora Shepelsky

Men lose their hair and its considered business as usual, a part of life. But when women lose their hair, they’re embarrassed and often also lose their self-confidence and sense of femininity. A quality wig and compassionate service can go a low way towards alleviating the fear and stress cancer patients face on the road ahead. A hairpiece is a large and often unforeseen expense that can cause a great deal of anxiety. While it’s important to be well-informed in order to avoid spending too much or purchasing the wrong type of wig, this often (and justifiably) takes a back seat to researching and formulating a recovery plan from an illness. Therefore, it is helpful to have a concise guide to make shopping for a hairpiece a smoother experience, allowing the patient to focus her energy on getting well.

Your First Step:

Talk to Your Doctor
Not all treatments cause hair loss. Talking to your doctor and forming a treatment plan is your first step. If your doctor feels that hair loss is probable, get a prescription for a cranial prosthesis. Some insurance companies cover at least a portion, if not the total cost, of a hairpiece. Talk to your insurance company to get a clear idea of what you might encounter.

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Latest Issue of St. Clair’s HouseCall Now Online

Check out the recent edition of St. Clair Hospital’s quarterly publication. Click here to read the latest issue of HouseCall.

You Have Come A Long Way, Babysitter!

Susan Kelley, 41, made a good amount of money while babysitting as a teen for several families in her area. But her daughter—Elizabeth, 14—hasn’t had as easy of a time finding sitter jobs, because she has professional competition. Read more at the Tribune-Review.

The Nonsurgical Option to Lift Skin

Ultherapy, a new cosmetic procedure, is all the rage these days. The beauty of ultherapy is that it can improve skin laxity in a meaningful way but is completely non–surgicallyOne treatment triggers the body’s own regenerative process of building new collagen to lift and tighten the skin. Learn more about this new procedure in this article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.



How Yoga Helped Me Navigate Choppy Waters

By Melanie Camp

I was 56 years old and I found that I fit the statistic of the average age of widowhood. I felt too young to be a widow and as my practice improved I knew that the door to a happy life could swing open. Yoga helped me see that the possibility of a healthy and full life was ahead of me and that there were no limits to my flexibility. Because each posture addresses so much of the “inner mind”, my adjustment to this new chapter was enhanced by a positive focus and a consistent practice. After a few months of reflection, I decided to participate in my yoga teacher’s first Yoga Teacher Training along with sixty other yogis from around the world.

I enrolled for five weeks of intense training, six days a week from 7am until 9pm or later. I did it…I completed my training and while I was not convinced that I would be teaching, I wanted to share my knowledge. With a body that was more toned than ever, I began sharing the message wherever I traveled. “Yoga can change your life!” became my theme song. With meditation and concentration, I sent a message out to the universe that I wanted more than ever to “participate” in this new life; explore my new freedom and challenge my fears.

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