Knowledge necessary for breast cancer patients
Health navigators must also be versed in administrative and logistical dilemmas that breast cancer patients face. Due to high deductible rates, many women will opt out of screening—even if they are insured. Washington says that “although many women may have insurance coverage for screening, they have these plans that they didn’t realize have really high deductibles.” In this case, Washington and other health navigators will turn towards philanthropic organizations that offer grants towards follow-up diagnostics.
Through all of these different operating roles, health navigators often maintain an overarching goal of helping patients through the fear and anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis. Many women believe that a breast cancer diagnosis is final, and may even reject treatment under the mistaken belief that their cancer is untreatable. In this way, a health navigator’s most critical function can be as an educator, as someone capable of teaching hope and understanding in light of a difficult situation.