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New Collaboration Benefits Breast Cancer Survivors

10 October, 2017

As a coalition, we love a good story about collaboration and partnership. When we heard that two of our partners were working together on a unique project, funded by a third partner, we knew we had to share it with you. The three-partner project works to increase follow-up and surveillance care for breast cancer survivors transitioning to a primary care setting.

The cancer care team at Renown Institute for Cancer knows that as breast cancer survivors transition from active treatment into post-treatment surveillance and follow-up care it’s vital to have access to primary health care. With a 5 – 27% risk of tumor reoccurrence after completion of active treatment, adherence to recommended screening intervals as prescribed by a physician is essential. However, not all of Renown’s patients have established relationships with a primary care provider or the insurance coverage to access that care.

Building upon an existing partnership with Northern Nevada HOPES, Renown now refers breast cancer survivors without a primary care provider to HOPES to receive follow-up care and surveillance screenings. HOPES is a community wellness center providing primary care, behavioral health services, and low-cost pharmacy, among many other services, often times at little or no cost to those who are uninsured or underinsured.

This exciting collaboration employs the use of a bilingual breast health navigator at HOPES to manage follow-up care with breast cancer survivors, who are referred by Renown’s breast cancer nurse navigator. The program uses care coordination and case management to provide follow-up/diagnostic mammography, general medical care, behavioral health, access to medication through HOPES’ 340B pharmacy, and referrals to specialists and oncologists as needed. A number of new partnerships will grow from this initial pilot, as HOPES will be navigating survivors to additional community providers, such as mammography service providers. The partners expect to serve more than a dozen women in this pilot program.

The entire program is supported by a grant from Susan G. Komen Nevada. The nonprofit has long been raising funds to support research and services at the national level, but has been keeping the bulk of their funds right here in Nevada to support breast cancer programs for our communities. Funding free mammograms for women in our state has been a focus for a number of years, providing access to early detection services that are so vital. With this new project they used a portion of their funding to support women on the other side of breast cancer – those just completing treatment.

We are thrilled to see this type of collaboration, a true example of comprehensive cancer control and a step towards reducing the burden of cancer in our state. Cheers to Susan G. Komen Nevada, Renown, and Northern Nevada HOPES for identifying this need and working together to support northern Nevada’s breast cancer survivors.

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