What is the Oncology Nurse Navigator Program?

A diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming, and our nurse navigators are here to help. Our navigation program provides support and education to you and your loved ones throughout your cancer treatment journey. We help you arrange appointments, identify and address barriers to care that you may have and provide access to additional community resources.

According to the Oncology Nursing Society , "navigation in oncology has demonstrated benefits for people at risk for or diagnosed with cancer."

These benefits may include:

  • Shorter time to diagnosis and start of treatment
  • Increased patient and caregiver knowledge
  • Better adherence to recommended care 
  • Improved quality of life
  • Potential for cost reduction through reduced rates of ER visits and readmission

Compassionate, efficient care is our priority and we are dedicated to making your experience as easy as possible for you and your loved ones.

What Do the Oncology Nurse Navigators Do?

Our Oncology Nurse Navigators may assist with many aspects of the cancer treatment journey. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide patient education regarding diagnosis, treatment plan and survivorship
  • Assist with the coordination of care from diagnosis to survivorship
  • Act as a single point of contact for the patient, caregivers and cancer care team
  • Identify and break down barriers to care
  • Identify community resources to assist in the patient care journey
  • Provide community education on prevention and screening
  • Facilitate support group offerings

Who Are the Oncology Nurse Navigators?

Our Oncology Nurse Navigators are experienced oncology registered nurses with a background in a variety of cancer care settings. Our navigators are here to empower patients and families with support and education needed to navigate the cancer treatment journey, from diagnosis to survivorship.

In addition to an Oncology Nurse Navigator, your cancer care team will include a specialized, multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and specialists who are dedicated to providing a personalized cancer care experience.

Meet Our Oncology Nurse Navigators

Meet the team behind our Oncology Nurse Navigator Program.

Kayla Byrd, RN, OCN
Oncology Nurse Navigator
Photo of Kayla Byrd, RN, OCN
Andrea Kassem, RN, OCN, CBCN, NBC-HWC
Lead Oncology Navigator
Photo of Andrea Kassem, RN, OCN, CBCN, NBC-HWC

Hear from Our Lead Navigator

More Information

Get Early Cancer Screening Programs for Prevention

Most cancers start with abnormal cells growing out of control. Sometimes you will experience symptoms, but often you will not. That is why regular early cancer screening programs and self-examinations are so important. Finding and treating cancer in its earlier stages is much easier, and potentially life-saving, than waiting until the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

In 2017, there were an estimated 1,688,780 new cancer cases diagnosed and 600,920 cancer deaths in the U.S. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the U.S., accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. Screening tests are available for many forms of cancer, including colorectal, breast, cervical and prostate.

Early Cancer Screening Programs for Men and Women

Both men and women are encouraged to undergo colorectal cancer tests beginning at age 50 (or earlier if they have risk factors for developing the disease). Screening tests for colorectal cancer include:

  • Stool tests, which tests for blood in the stool
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, which allows the doctor to check the rectum and lower part of the colon
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy), which uses an X-ray to find abnormal spots
  • Colonoscopy, which allows the doctor to examine the entire colon

Screening for Women

 There is a current debate in the United States over the best time to begin screening mammograms for breast cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services (USPTF) has recommended that the biennial screening mammography for women should be done between the ages of 50 to 74 years. The recommendation among other health experts has not changed, including the American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons.

They continue to recommend that women should begin having annual mammograms at age 40, or earlier if they are at higher risk. The decision about when to start regular, biennial screening mammography should be a result of your individual discussion with your physician. Monthly self exams help women know the normal state of their breasts.

Another screening recommended for women is a Pap test to detect pre-cancerous cells in the cervix or cervical cancer. The test should be done at least every three years between ages 21 and 29, and at least every five years from age 30 to 65. After age 65, women who have had normal results in the past may no longer need screenings. Treatment is available to prevent cervical cancer from developing or when it is found early.

Cancer Screening for Men

Men can be screened for prostate cancer as early as age 40 if they are at high risk for developing the disease. Having a first-degree relative with prostate cancer or being African-American may increase a man’s chances of having prostate cancer. Screening for the condition may include a digital rectal exam or a prostate-specific antigen blood test. Men also are encouraged to examine their testicles on a routine basis to check for testicular cancer. Any lump or swelling should be reported to a physician as soon as possible. Testicular cancer is not common, but it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer.

Screening recommendations can vary for different cancers and depend on the patient’s medical history, family history and lifestyle. Doctors may advise patients to be screened regularly or at a younger age if they are inactive, use tobacco products, drink alcohol or eat a high-fat diet. For more information about cancer screenings, talk with your doctor.