FOLLOW THE FUNDS FRIDAY: Truman Medical Center helps Breast Cancer Patients Navigate the Healthcare System

Komen Kansas City granted Truman Medical Center (TMC) $60,030 last year for their Patient Navigator Program. The Patient Navigator Program guides breast cancer patients from diagnosis through surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and recovery. TMC provided 74 individuals with patient navigation services. During the last year, the patient navigator has ensured that Komen mammogram bookmarks have been disseminated weekly to patients through TMC’s internal medicine clinics. Komen KC also granted TMC $54,720 for a continuation of the patient navigator program for this year as well.

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Fear and anxiety had such a crippling effect on MB (note her real name) that she waited a year after being told she had breast cancer to seek treatment. Informed of her diagnosis and provided a referral to TMC, it wasn’t until the pain became unbearable that she sought treatment in the Emergency Room. MB was then admitted to inpatient care to help ease the pain. Upon confirmation that she had breast cancer, she was overcome with worry. She told the surgeon that she was not ready to die.

MB had many obstacles in her way. The patient navigator began the journey by identifying barriers, which included transportation and financial assistance. But the biggest barrier she faced, like so many patients, was a lack of emotional support.  MB stated that she had no support from her family, ex-husband, or his family.

Upon discharge, the navigator assured her that she would be available to her when she was needed. Unfortunately, follow-up calls were unsuccessful as the telephone number she provided was not a working number. Two weeks later, the patient navigator was called to the Emergency Room again. The patient navigator was met overwhelming look of relief from MB and listened to her as she described her fear of a mastectomy and problems at home, including having no electricity or water. With support from the navigator, she had her mastectomy and has continued to keep her follow-up clinic appointments. She is now preparing for the next step in her road to survivorship.

MB’s story is an example of how support is needed in a woman’s journey with this disease. Patient navigators, like the one at Truman Medical Center, can help with the emotional support that some patients lack.

You can read more about the program on their Web site at

For more information on all of our current grantees please visit our Website at:

For more information on contributions to support grants like these please visit our Website at:

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