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Healthwatch 16: Making life easier for breast cancer patients

Care coordinators at Geisinger Wyoming Valley, are hands-on with patients, from diagnosis to remission.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — October is breast cancer awareness month, and there are a group of people who are standing by those with the disease from start to finish. 

Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be one of the worst times in a person's life, but a breast cancer care coordinator can help make a patient's life a little easier during this stressful time.

At the Geisinger in Wyoming Valley, care coordinators are helping patients. They are one of the first to reach out to patients after they get the life-changing news.

"I'm there to really answer questions, and I tell them I'm here to get the ball rolling and bring you in and do whatever we need to do for what's next," says Rebecca Vanderveken, a breast cancer nurse coordinator at the Geisinger in Wyoming Valley.

She and her team see around 200 patients a year. They help newly diagnosed breast cancer patients from the time of diagnosis and setting up appointments to helping them through the process of remission.

"Making sure they understand their diagnosis as well as their treatment options and helping them overcome any potential barriers to care, anything that may prevent them from pursuing treatment or getting to appointments," Rebecca explains. "They're going to know from start to finish the course of treatment, who is treating them when they're going to meet that person, and they also have social work if there's a question about insurance."

Geisinger also has a mentorship program where patients who have finished their treatments are paired with newly diagnosed patients.

"So they can talk to somebody who is at that same point in life, going through that same disease, getting the same treatments, and really hear about it from that person who went through it," Vanderveken says. 

She has stayed in touch with a number of her patients, even after they finished their breast cancer treatments.

See more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.  

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