By Benjamin Lowentritt, MD
Medical Director of the Chesapeake Urology Prostate Cancer Care Program
"You have prostate cancer."
These are the four words every man fears. Yet, 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Fortunately, prostate cancer is highly treatable. In fact, the five-year survival rate for localized and regional forms of prostate cancer is 100 percent when caught and treated early.
When faced with a diagnosis of prostate cancer, one of the many reasons more men turn to Chesapeake Urology is our focus on comprehensive, seamless care at all phases of the journey. We've been building a more comprehensive prostate cancer care program which has evolved to meet the ever changing needs of our patients, providing a superior experience for any man diagnosed with the disease. One very important factor in this evolution includes the addition of patient navigators who help guide our patients through every step of the prostate cancer journey.
Our patient navigators, also known as oncology navigators, are experts in understanding the details of cancer treatment. They support, inform, guide, and answer questions through all stages of diagnosis, treatment and beyond. They serve as advocates for patients and their families during prostate cancer treatment and enhance the quality of the care received. Doctors can't always answer every question a patient has because they aren't always with the patient; but the patient navigator, who is a nurse practitioner or a registered nurse, serves as an extension of the physician, answering questions and even providing another perspective.
Within only a couple of days of diagnosis, our navigator will contact a patient and follow up with an e-mail full of information. It's daunting for any patient to expect to absorb all of this information at once during an emotional and stressful time in their lives. The navigator takes the time to go through the information, explaining what a patient can expect, and
helps the patient understand the treatment options so they can make informed decisions.
She will also help set up consultations with physicians, obtain referrals, schedule additional tests and procedures, and connect patients to resources and support services. Our navigators are always available to talk via phone, email and even Skype, putting patients' minds at ease with they feel overwhelmed.
The navigator is a patient's, and a caregivers, best advocate for care and reminds patients that they do not have to face this life changing experience alone.
At Chesapeake Urology's prostate cancer care program, our goal is to not only provide our patients with the most advanced treatments for prostate cancer and superior, compassionate care, but to also guide men and their families through every step of the