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Navigating Cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment and Recovery

Martha McCurdy May 13, 2013 10:00 AM This chat has ended. Thank you for participating.
Brenna (Moderator) - 9:55 AM:
Our chat--Navigating Cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment and Recovery--will begin at 10 AM. Please begin to submit your questions at anytime. Until the chat begins, find out more about the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health.

Liz (Chicago) - 10:11 AM:
I’m 10 years breast cancer free. During treatment I didn’t have someone like a nurse navigator to help me through all the confusion. My sister is newly diagnosed with breast cancer and I think a nurse navigator would be invaluable. Does NorthShore offer this service during treatment for all cancers? How do you find out about it?

Martha McCurdy (NorthShore):
Hi Liz Congratulations on being cancer free for 10 years. What a great accomplishment. I am sorry to hear about your sister. Its true, back when you were diagnosed the Nurse Navigator position was not available at most health care instititions. I am sure it would of been of great help to you. Today NorthShore does have a nurse navigator for breast cancer patients. She will be able to help your sister cordinate her care through the treatment maze and follow up. She will also have you as an advocate. here is the link: www.northshore.org/kellog-cancer-center/specialties/breast cancer.

Becky (Lake Forest) - 10:17 AM:
My dad was diagnosed with stage 3 bladder cancer about a month ago. His doctor recommended the removal of his bladder and lymph nodes because it has spread. What is the quality of life for someone who has this surgery? How do you function after that? If that is the treatment recommendation is that probably the only option?

Martha McCurdy (NorthShore):
Becky Although I do not know your dad's exact situation, only what you stated above, it may be a good idea to get a second opinion on his recent diagnosis. Physicians today are use to patients seeing another physician to confirm their diagnosis and or possible offer other options. Patients today want to be informed on all their options and educate themselves on what is available.

Dan (Glenview) - 10:27 AM:
I’m in recovery after bladder cancer. Male 55. I was dignosed with early stage bladder cancer and had a tumor removed. The cancer had not spread. I don’t have bladder cancer in my family. Or any cancer in my family that I know of. I did BCG for 6 weeks after the tumor was removed. Should I be having these treatments for longer? How long? The side effects pretty intense for me.

Martha McCurdy (NorthShore):
Hi Dan Sounds like you have been through alot with your bladder cancer diagnosis. Since I don't know the exact circumstances of your situation, it is difficult for me to comment. I do know BCG can be uncomfortable for many patients. In normal cicumstances with this diagnosis, patients complete the six treatments and a follow up look into your bladder or a cystoscopy is done usually within a month or two.. You should check with your physician to see what the next step is.

Sherri - 10:32 AM:
My husband was diagnosed almost two years ago at Northshore with stage IV metastatic prostate cancer and has been in treatment ever since diagnosis. Why were we never told about a GU nurse navigator by any of his physicians

Martha McCurdy (NorthShore):
Sherri I am sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis. The Nurse Navigator role for patients with prostate cancer was not available when your husband was diagnosed. This is a new position which is still in the early stages of development.

Anonymous (Wilmette, IL) - 10:36 AM:
My husband won’t get screened for prostate cancer. I understand this is a sensitive subject for men but I think he should. He has a history of it in his family. He has no symptoms of anything but I’ve read that its a lot like colon cancer in that there are no signs until much later. What are the guidelines for screening? If it turns out, he does have cancer, does everyone suffer sexual dysfunction? I think this is probably why he won’t go.

Martha McCurdy (NorthShore):
Yes, you are right, it is a very sensitive subject for men. If he does have a family history, he should definately be screened and see a urologist for a PSA and a exam. The early signs of prostate cancer don't have symptoms, but the later stages do. If it turns out he does have cancer, his treatment plan will depend on the stage and aggressiveness of the disease. Treatment for prostate cancer has come very far over the last few years and advances in surgical technique have improved leaving less men with sexual dysfunction issues. Men with slow non agressive prostate cancer can be "watched" closely by their urologist and only go through treatment if their cancer progresses.

Derek - 10:47 AM:
Have bladder cancer in early stages. I haven’t started treatment yet because I'm sorta still figuring out what to do. It has been a month since I was diagnosed. My hospital does offer navigation services. What does it involve?

Martha McCurdy (NorthShore):
Derek Institutions that have Nurse Navigators may set up different roles for the Navigator based on the specific populations of patients they serve. I would highly reccomend using the service if it is available to you. The Nurse navigator will assess your personal situation and needs. Your physician most likely would offer you the service. You would meet with the Nurse Navigator and she would help you understand your diagnosis, and guide you through what to expect based on your plan of treatment. She can be your "go to" person for any question you may have. Even if you think its a question you are afraid to ask your physician, she will help you out because she knows its obviously important to you. It is not easy today to navigate through the layers of the health care system. She will be your advocate.

Brenna (Moderator) - 10:56 AM:
There are 5 minutes left in the chat. Please submit your final questions.

Julie - 10:57 AM:
I don’t always know what questions to ask when I’m talking to my doctor – what tests mean etc. Can a nurse navigator sit in on appointments so that asking the right questions is easier?

Martha McCurdy (NorthShore):
The Nurse navigator can actually help you coordinate important questions for your doctor based on your diagnosis prior to the office visit. If you are coming alone to the visit, she can sit in with you or she may suggest you bring a family member along to write down specific instructions your doctor has given you. Don't be afraid to ask questions. The physicians and nurses here will be happy to help you out.

sherri - 11:01 AM:
My husband was completely asymptomatic with his stage IV prostate cancer. Please please get screened!!!

Brenna (Moderator) - 11:04 AM:
Thank you everyone for your participation in our online chat. A transcript of the chat will be available later today.
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