When a patient faces a cancer diagnosis, not only will they find superior treatment at the Harbin Clinic Tony E. Warren, M.D. Cancer Center, they will find a magnitude of support for themselves and their families that will help bring peace to their journey. Cancer Navigators is a community-based nonprofit organization that works to help patients understand their diagnosis and treatment while providing needed resources.
Established in 2006, Cancer Navigators serves patients in the six-county northwest Georgia counties, including Floyd, Chattooga, Polk, Bartow, Whitfield, and Gordon and Cherokee County in northeast Alabama. As each case is different, a patient’s needs are assessed, and a personalized plan is created.
Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator, Sarah Husser, says, “Many of the challenges patients face are addressed through the services provided by Cancer Navigators. For example, two of the most common issues are transportation and nutrition. Cancer Navigators has assistance for both.” One of the greatest barriers to cancer care is transportation. As a result, the organization provides gas cards and bus vouchers to help patients get to their appointments. Patients facing treatment also have access to a fully stocked supply room. The room includes liquid nutrition, which is vital to keeping patients healthy throughout their treatments. They will also find personal care items, medical supplies for illness-related care, scarfs, blankets, hats, and even wigs. All available at no charge. In addition to liquid nutrition from the patient care room, referrals are made to local food pantries and resources are available for one-on-one nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian for patients undergoing treatment.
Other services include Social Support Services, which assist patients with insurance and financial services, helping patients navigate and understand insurance, healthcare, and financial support programs. A Complementary Care Program uses massage, acupressure, music therapy, and stress management techniques to benefit the patient.
A licensed clinical social worker is available for individual counseling services to support the whole patient. In 2021, over 1,000 sessions were held with patients. In addition, there are opportunities for day and multi-day retreats offered through the Transformational Retreat Series. Weekly, there are patient support group meetings dedicated to Stress Management. There is also Caregiver Support to help those who care for those undergoing treatment. Recently, these have been offered virtually and in-person as conditions have allowed.
Many citizens and businesses of Rome and Floyd County generously donate to the group. Cancer Navigators has been an affiliate of Atrium Health Floyd since 2016 as they recognized the positive impact of the organization, and due to their support, monetary donations from supporters go directly to patient care and provide relief and hope to patients and their caregivers. They also accept in-kind donations, including products used in the patient supply room. Husser shares, “The community support is overwhelming, allowing us to serve more individuals. While many of the items we receive are purchased, some talented artists supply us with crocheted or knitted hats and blankets. Our patients love those items. They help them feel the love and support of the community at large.”
“Cancer navigators was founded with the goal of addressing the whole person— body, mind, heart— as they face the cancer journey. Each patient has unique challenges. Some will need help with their physical and financial needs, especially while undergoing therapy. Some will need an emotional outlet and support from others who have walked the path before. Some will seek ways to transform their lives toward better health in order to move forward. Cancer Navigators is dedicated to meeting each individual where they are, such that no one has to journey alone.”
Matt Mumber, Harbin Clinic Radiation Oncologist and Cancer Navigators Board Member
For more information regarding the services of Cancer Navigators, visit CancerNavigatorsGA.org or call 706.509.5040.