Breast surgeon’s secret weapon against cancer isn’t a scalpel — it’s a nurse navigator

Botsford Breast Center nurse navigator Penny Widmaier, RN

Another way nurse navigators advocate for breast cancer patients is by making sure they know about all the resources available to them. Here, Penny Widmaier, RN explains support services offered at Botsford Cancer Center to a patient.

If you ask anyone whose mammogram results came back “abnormal,” the anxiety of waiting for the next step can be paralyzing.

“Is it cancer or isn’t it? If it is breast cancer, when can we start treating it?” The doctors have to perform more tests before they have answers to those and the many other questions swirling in your head so you sit and wait until the next time they can fit you in.

It’s a scenario that happens often but — thanks to a secret weapon — not so much any more at Botsford Breast Center. Waiting “can be one of the biggest sources of anxiety for patients,” says Dr. Cynthia Sandona, director of Botsford Breast Center. That’s why despite all the advanced technology and beautiful décor, one of Dr. Sandona’s favorite things about the Center is actually a person – Penny Widmaier, RN, a breast cancer nurse navigator.

One of the many things Penny does is she reduces or eliminates the waiting often experienced between an abnormal mammogram and a follow up appointment. Patients rarely have to wait longer than 24 to 48 hours after an abnormal mammogram result for a follow up appointment. And during those few hours they are waiting, patients tend to experience less anxiety knowing that there’s someone advocating for them. “I try to make their experience seamless and as easy as possible,” Penny explains.

Dr. Sandona trusts Penny to look after her patients and make sure they don’t get lost in the

Dr. Cynthia Sandona

Dr. Sandona says a breast cancer nurse navigator makes dealing with the disease easier for her patients.

maze that can be health care. Because no matter how perfect a system is, breast cancer is scary. Penny’s expert hand and human touch can make all the difference.

At Botsford Breast Center, a breast cancer nurse navigator is on the case at the first sign of an abnormal mammogram, whether breast cancer is diagnosed or not. If you’re due for a mammogram, please don’t wait. Request an appointment today.

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