Aspirus Health first to offer breast health nurse navigator program in the UP

A newly-integrated care team dedicated to breast health is providing comprehensive care pathways for patients close to home. Aspirus Keweenaw and Aspirus Ironwood are the first and only hospitals in the Western Upper Peninsula to offer a comprehensive breast program, including breast health nurse navigators.

A team of three breast health nurse navigators, Carla Bahr, RN, BSN, OCN, NE-BC; Stephanie Ostrowski, RN, BSN, CN-BN; and Amy Price, RN, BSN, ONC are available to patients throughout the Western UP.

Patients are typically referred to Aspirus Breast Health Nurse Navigators after they have been called back for additional testing or procedures after an initial mammogram. They provide education and support while answering questions and concerns. They:

  • Provide educational information, resources, and support to all those concerned about their breast health
  • Provide information to patients with benign breast diseases
  • Support patients with breast cancer and their family by navigating and ensuring proper access to needed services
  • Help coordinate social and emotional needs for both patient and family
  • Facilitate appointments for diagnostic imaging and breast biopsy.

They join a comprehensive team of experts including pathologists and Board-certified oncologists to ensure patients in the UP receive expert, compassionate care.

“We love supporting our patients, helping to alleviate stress and fear,” says Bahr. She adds, “Thankfully about 80% of breast biopsies are negative for a malignancy. For about the other 20% of patients, a nurse navigator becomes especially important as they navigate a cancer diagnosis and the many options and decisions that accompany this reality.”

The breast health nurse navigators provide multi-dimensional support including helping coordinate social, emotional and educational needs for patients and families.

The program at Aspirus Keweenaw and Aspirus Ironwood Hospital & Clinics combines the expertise of radiologists and general surgeons with Oncologist Hematologist Zuhair Ghanem, MD. Together they provide a collaborative approach to care that’s understanding of the unique needs of breast health at all ages and stages of life.

“With the return of Dr. Ghanem, our comprehensive breast health team can lead the health of the community in both diagnosis and treatment of breast cancers and disorders,” said Jonathan Brueggeman, DPM, MHSA, Aspirus Upper Peninsula Regional Medical Director. Dr. Ghanem is proud to provide the highest level of cancer care, close to home.

The breast health program allows the team at Aspirus to walk the patient through their journey, supporting patients every step along the way. Aspirus breast health nurse navigators are available to consult with at 715-847-0066.

For more information on the breast health program visit