Breast Cancer Patient Navigator
Helping You Navigate the Journey through Breast Cancer
At the Hilton Head Regional Healthcare Breast Health Center, a division of Hilton Head Hospital, it is our goal to help ease the burden on patients and their loved ones dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and to help coordinate the efforts of the medical team during treatment.
Angie Gillespie, RT (R) (M), breast imaging navigator, and Judy Horton, RN, BSN, OCN, breast nurse navigator, are front-line champions for our breast cancer patients. Angie is double board certified in radiology and mammography and has been working with breast cancer patients for 25 years. Judy left a career in publishing 20 years ago to work with oncology patients after witnessing the incredible care her dad received while battling colon cancer.
The Breast Health Center is unique because the resources needed to identify breast cancer and start the treatment process are all housed in the same location. Angie works with biopsies and imaging while Judy works with positive breast cancer cases and anything additional before surgery. “Angie is there for our patients on the front end and works to identify positive breast cancer cases,” says Horton. “Once she gets the patient to me, I help get them to the next phase of treatment.”
Our navigators are here to help our patients understand their diagnosis and available treatment options. They help patient’s voice any questions or concerns with their doctors and other health care team members. Organizing appointments can be scary and daunting so our navigators take care of things like coordinating appointments with medical oncology, radiation oncology, plastic surgery, genetics counseling, physical therapy, and behavioral health counseling.
They can assist in finding transportation to appointments, understanding medications, exploring any work-related or financial concerns, and providing educational materials. Our team also conducts a Survivorship Care Plan on all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, which outlines their diagnosis, treatment team, recommended follow up care and surveillance.
The part of their job that both Angie and Judy agree is the most rewarding is providing support for the patient and loved ones throughout diagnosis and treatment. “A cancer patient’s journey is not an easy one, and each one of my team members at the Breast Health Center, led by Dr. Rochelle Ringer, is compassionate and empathetic” says Horton. “To me, it’s about building a relationship with your patients and going the extra mile to make a difference in someone’s life.”
“I love my job, I love my patients and I love what I do,” says Gillespie. “The most rewarding thing to me is when they come back 6-months or a year later and we know that everything worked. They are not scared or fearful, they’re survivors and they’re always so grateful to us for helping them.”
For more information about the Breast Health Nurse Navigation Program, please call 843-836-1600 or visit us at 75 Baylor Drive, Suite 100 in Bluffton.