Barbara Cicerelli coordinates the patient navigator program for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Department at the Department of Public Health. The American Cancer Society recently launched this free program in the Oncology Department at San Francisco General Hospital.
How does the Patient Navigator Program help cancer patients? In general, our mission is to be the single point of contact for the patients. Cancer patients can often have 10 to 15 health care providers and so we are with them through everything.
How often do you meet with patients? Over the course of a year of treatment, we would see them weekly at the beginning and then biweekly after that.
What would you do in a typical one-on-one with the patient? At the beginning, we might assist them through everything from insurance concerns to transportation and missing work. Usually they are very vulnerable and scared and so are relieved to know we will be with them through it all.