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Broward Health Receives Grant to Help Women Navigate Breast Cancer Treatment

Find out more details about the Breast Cancer Navigator Program »

Broward Health provided 29,380 mammograms last year, nearly 3,000 of them for women who had no insurance and could not afford to pay. While a mammogram may be essential in detecting abnormalities, a diagnosis is meaningless without follow-up. That follow-up – particularly for poor women – can be daunting.

A grant of nearly $150,000 from the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society will help Broward Health set up a new Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program to ensure that more women living in poverty will get the medical care they need after an abnormal mammogram or a diagnosis of breast cancer. The goal is to ensure half of the participants are African-American, Caribbean or Hispanic.

A “navigator” case manager will provide one-on-one assistance to women of any age in navigating the complexities of not only scheduling, testing and treatment, but with things like childcare, transportation, translation services and understanding medical terminology as well.

The navigator case manager will oversee the woman’s care throughout treatment at the Comprehensive Cancer Centers at Broward Health facilities (Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North). If the woman doesn’t show up for an appointment, stops treatment, or becomes unreachable after two weeks, the case manager will go to her home to check on her and find out why she hasn’t kept her appointments. The case manager will then work with her to get her back on track. When cancer goes into remission, the case manager will continue to monitor her health and quickly set up doctor appointments and further treatment if needed.

The navigator program is dedicated to dismantling barriers faced by medically underserved women with breast cancer, increasing access to healthcare services and ultimately improving quality of life.

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Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program Participants

September 2006 – July 2008

The American Cancer Society awarded Broward Health the Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program Grant in September 2006 to navigate medically underserved women of all ages (living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level who receive an abnormal mammogram), from diagnostic mammogram to breast cancer survivorship. The two (2) year grant award provided for one (1) Registered Nurse Breast Cancer Patient Navigator to remove the barriers to care by providing one-on-one case management once breast cancer is diagnosed.

The program allows for:

  • Earlier identification/intervention
  • Greater outreach to our community
  • A broader range of services
  • Decreased treatment variability
  • Increased effectiveness of care

Evaluation Methodology

Patient Demographics

  • 282 female and 2 male patients, ages 15 thru 85
  • 57 dependent children
  • Treatment and diagnostic sites – 1-49 miles from patients' home
  • Transportation – 60% of the patients were brought to the health care site by friend or family; 34% by private car; 6% used taxi service or public transportation provided by Broward Health
Race/Ethnicity (Program)
Race/Ethnicity (Claritas 2007)
37% - Black Non Hispanic
51% - Black Non Hispanic
23% - Hispanic
18% – Hispanic
19% - White Non Hispanic
25% - White Non Hispanic
9% - Haitian
3% - Asian
7% - Other
3% - Other
2% - Asian
1% - Portuguese

Patient Participation

  • 284 - patients referred from Broward Health sites and the Broward County Health Department's Breast & Cervical Cancer Initiative
  • 109 - patients that did not meet guidelines (i.e. had insurance, were enrolled in another program, received care at another facility, refused services)
  • 63 - patients disenrolled from the program (i.e. eligibility changed, moved, changed providers, chose homeopathic treatment and/or refused treatment, treatment complete and patients are following up with primary care physician for a yearly mammogram)
  • 37 - patients in the program with no diagnosis of breast cancer that are being followed.
  • 75 - patients with diagnosis of breast cancer – majority of the cases is invasive ductal carcinoma. (61 ductal, 5 intra ductal, 4 multi focal, 3 lobular, 1 mucinous & 2 multi centric)
    1 - stage 0
    7 - stage I
    31 - stage II
    18 - stage III
    6 - stage IV
    12 - in staging process

Referral Sources

  • Broward Health hospitals and Community Health Service sites, i.e., Broward Health Medical Center, Broward Health North, Broward Health Imperial Point, and Broward Health Coral Springs.
  • Broward Health Website
  • Florida Breast Cancer Resource Network
  • Broward County Health Department through its Breast & Cervical Cancer Initiative (BCCI)
  • Other community organizations, i.e., Living Water clinics, Light of the World, churches, etc.
  • Private physician offices, friends, and family

Benefits of Program

Access & Compliance
Patients adhered to their scheduled appointments. In the event of a scheduling conflict, the Breast Cancer Patient Navigator was contacted for resolution.

Transportation and certification process has been expedited because of intervention by Breast Cancer Patient Navigator.

97% of the patients adhered to the treatment plan (3% sought alternative treatment or chose treatment elsewhere).

Care & Treatment
Recommended diagnostic procedures:

  • Mammogram
  • Spot magnification / compression
  • Ultrasound
  • Stereo tactic biopsy
  • Ultrasound biopsy
  • CT Scans, Mir's & PET Scans
  • Echocardiograms, Lab work, X-rays and ultrasounds

Recommended treatment procedures:

  • Lumpectomy
  • Mastectomy
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormonal treatment

97% of the patients adhered to scheduled diagnostic procedures

Current status of patient treatment

29 – in treatment (chemo/radiation)
30 – in post treatment
6 – refused treatment
6 – in work-up
1 – out of service area
3 – out of country

Knowledge and Education

Educational components made available to all the patients:

  • Initial education packet
  • American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Guidelines
  • National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Booklet
  • Chemotherapy and You
  • Triple Touch
  • Nutrition
  • Knowledge & Education
  • Demand Mailings – specific topics of interest
  • Support groups and education classes
  • Look Good, Feel Better
  • Gilda's Club
  • Reach to Recovery
  • Community Church Support Group

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