Aspirus Media Center

Aspirus Provides Complete Patient Support with Breast Health Nurse Navigators

10/19/2022
Amy Price, Carla Bahr, Stephanie Ostrowski

Amy Price, Carla Bahr, Stephanie Ostrowski

When it comes to the importance of mammograms, many people think of the radiology technologist who conducts the actual mammogram, and the radiologist who analyzes the images. Few think of Breast Health Nurse Navigators, but if a patient is called back for additional imaging, Breast Health Nurse Navigators become an integral part of the patient’s care team.

A nurse navigator is a patient resource and advocate for care – from the initial consultation (which typically occurs when a concern has been uncovered) through treatment. Aspirus provides these services free of charge.

Though each patient’s requests are different, a nurse navigator is there to guide a patient through their journey. They provide education, offer support, and are valuable resources in answering questions and concerns. Navigators explain the pathology results and coordinate follow-up care with the patient.

“I love being there for the patients, helping to alleviate stress and fear,” says Stephanie Ostrowski, an Aspirus Breast Health Nurse Navigator.

Thankfully about 80% of biopsies are negative for a malignancy. For the other 20% of patients, their nurse navigator now becomes even more important to them as they navigate a cancer diagnosis and the many options and decisions that accompany that reality.

The good news is, with continual advancements in mammography technology, “we’re catching very tiny cancers now,” says Ostrowski, increasing a patient’s chance for early detection and better outcomes.

Not only is the nurse navigator an expert when it comes to testing, pathology, and understanding the steps involved with a cancer diagnosis, but they also feel it’s a calling, and the importance of the emotional support they provide cannot be overstated. Amy Price, an Aspirus Breast Health Nurse Navigator, says, “One patient at a time, I get to make a difference.”

The ability to connect with their patients in a meaningful way at an important crossroads in their life is not taken lightly. Carla Bahr leads the team which is centrally located at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Since one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, the need for nurse navigators is greater than ever.

With Breast Health Nurse Navigators available as an ongoing resource free of charge, Aspirus is committed to supporting patients every step along the way. They are available to consult with, free of charge, at 715-847-0066.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Aspirus Health urges all women aged 40 and over to have an annual mammogram. To make an appointment, visit aspirus.org or use the MyAspirus app. Aspirus provides 3D mammograms at all Wisconsin locations.

Aspirus further believes no woman should miss a mammogram based on financial worries; they offer free mammograms and breast-related diagnostic services for those with cost concerns. For more information on how to qualify call 800-847-4707 or visit aspirus.org/free-mammograms.

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