New Program for Cancer Patients

American Cancer Society Patient Navigators Help Patients Identify Cancer Care Needs

Oct 16, 2012


Cancer patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center are participating in a new free program that provides information, resources and support on their journey back to good health.

The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program at the Hospital connects patients and their families to a cancer education and support specialist, known as a patient navigator, who serves as a personal guide through the psychosocial, emotional and medical challenges that cancer can bring. The service is confidential and places an emphasis on assisting the medically underserved.

"Every patient deserves the very best care, including empathic consideration of the emotional and psychological strains that come along with any cancer diagnosis," says Dr. Stephen Emerson, director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and the Clyde '56 and Helen Wu Professor of Immunology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "We are extremely pleased to provide the services of these individuals, who truly help patients navigate through the psychosocial barriers that can impede true recovery."

American Cancer Society patient navigators will help patients according to their individual needs from the time of diagnosis through treatment. Services for patients and their caregivers may include providing educational resources they need to make treatment decisions and better understand their disease; helping them deal with the day-to-day challenges of living with cancer, such as transportation and insurance information; and connecting them with community resources such as support groups.

"A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for patients, their families and their caregivers," says David Pulli, senior director of patient and family services at the American Cancer Society. "Our Patient Navigator Program helps patients focus on getting well by providing support every step of the way."

The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program

Formally launched in 2005, the Patient Navigator Program, in collaboration with community-based hospitals and cancer centers, links those affected by cancer to patient navigators who serve as personal guides for patients and their caregivers to help them navigate the cancer experience — with a focus on eliminating barriers to cancer care for the medically underserved. Patient navigators receive national-level training through the American Cancer Society, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute Patient Navigation Research Program, as well as localized training and opportunities for ongoing education. There are currently more than 130 American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program sites across the U.S. According to American Cancer Society estimates, 109,440 people in New York will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012.1 The patient navigator program at New York- Presbyterian Hospital is part of a $10 million pledge by AstraZeneca to the American Cancer Society to accelerate development of at least 50 new Patient Navigator Program sites over a five-year period (2007 to 2011) in communities throughout the United States."

1 Cancer Facts and Figures 2012, American Cancer Society, Inc.

The American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than 3 million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 800-227-2345, or visit

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and its academic partner, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report.

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