Medical Update: Meet LMC's Nurse Oncology Navigator
Aug 15, 2013 at 5:42 PM CST
Aug 15, 2013
This week we continue our series on the advancements in cancer treatment here locally by introducing you to the new "Nurse Oncology Navigator" at LMC. Diana Leal is Laredo's first nurse oncology navigator helping patients 'navigate' through cancer care. Rhonda DeLeon says she doesn't know where she'd be without Diana's help. "I think probably I wouldn't be able to accept it right now, I think I would probably still be in denial." Rhonda was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer back in May, and her oncologist referred her to Diana. "It's so important to know that you've got options and we've made great progress in cancer, patients don't die of cancer anymore, and I make sure they know that." Patients who see Diana get help understanding their diagnosis their plan of treatment and help coordinating appointments, and finding sources of funding. "She's amazing, she's been there for me since the beginning that I was diagnosed up till now, any question she'll answer them for me, if not she'll get an answer for me." "It's an added stress to worry about finances, how am I going to pay for my treatment, how am I going to pay my other bills, but I’ll tell you that there are resources in the community, and I help patients to de-stress them so they can focus on their treatment." There is no fee for Diana’s service and she says she enjoys being able to empower her patients with the knowledge they need to get through treatment. Doctor Andres Soriano says he has referred many patients to Diana and says the patient benefits from having someone to talk to other than the doctor. "The doctor will talk to you maybe 10 to 15 minutes, or an hour if it's a first visit but then all these questions, you need somebody like a nurse practitioner or somebody like Diana that will be helping those patients to vent." And as she nears the end of her treatment Rhonda agrees. " Come see Diana, come see Diana, she's been amazing, she's given me hope and faith, the most important like she said, I will not die from it." Next week we continue our series on cancer care by showing you a new piece of equipment to treat cancer the first of it's kind in Laredo and South Texas.