In October 2017, Becky Stone, 56, from Olympia, spoke to her primary care provider about a suspicious lump she felt. Becky’s primary care provider referred her for a diagnostic mammogram at the South Sound Breast Center, a partnership between Providence St. Peter Hospital and South Sound Radiology, where a radiologist confirmed a mass on her left breast.
“I was devastated. The scariest time is right when you first get diagnosed, and there is so much uncertainty,” said Stone. “But, I was unaware of this great system out there that would help me get through this.”
Following a cancer diagnosis, the Providence breast patient navigator steps in to help guide patients like Becky through the healthcare system. Karry Trout, breast cancer patient navigator with Providence Regional Cancer System, was in the room with Stone during her post-biopsy mammogram. “I often meet women when they are told they need a biopsy and follow them through the continuum of care and help them connect to community and social support services, including our Survivorship Program.
Patient navigators are just one part of the Providence oncology team who provide comprehensive and high quality services to cancer patients in Thurston County. Quality services close to home offer peace of mind, more freedom, and convenience.
“A cancer diagnosis is stressful, and then you put commuting to somewhere like Seattle on top of that and it can be very overwhelming,” said Trout. “I know women who never miss a day of work while getting radiation and it allows them to maintain their daily life while having the support of family and friends nearby.”
Providence offers an interdisciplinary team approach. “We all work together as a team, even if we are in different buildings or offices. The oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, general surgeons, lymphedema specialist, genetic counselors, plastic surgeon and breast navigator all connect weekly to discuss treatment options and best practices,” Trout said. Stone went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and was able to transition through each phase of her treatment seamlessly because of this team approach.
Stone said she was grateful that it only took her a few minutes to get from her home to her daily radiation treatments. With such a short procedure taking only 15 minutes, she was able to get home quickly and spend the rest of the day resting and not worrying about traffic.
“It was significant that I didn’t have to leave Thurston County for any of my treatments. It made a world of difference that I was able to be close to home,” Stone said.
Nearly two years after her initial diagnosis, Stone is now in the Survivorship Program at Providence Regional Cancer System. “When a patient is first diagnosed they are surrounded by support, however at the end of treatment is when the dust starts to settle and they aren’t surrounded by as many caregivers at this stage,” said Tiffany Randich, RN Care Navigator for Survivorship. “I explain to patients that from this point forward, I get to be their support. I love what I do and feel so honored to provide patients support.”
In addition to survivorship treatment plans there are many other services available to patients after their active treatment is complete, such as:
- Support groups
- Annual Cancer Survivor Celebration Day event (first Saturday in June)
- Living with and Beyond Cancer event
- And more
From diagnosis to beyond treatment, Providence offers comprehensive, high quality, local services to cancer patients and their loved ones.
To learn more about the Providence Regional Cancer System and the services they offer patients, call 360-754-3934.