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Feature Story

Health Center Today, October 19, 2009

Pamela Nixon Navigates Patients Through Cancer Care

By Chris Kaminski

Photo of Pamela Nixon

UConn Health Centerís William Raveis-American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Pamela Nixon.

When an individual hears that they have cancer, their world stops in its tracks, however not for very long. Soon they must make decisions regarding their care, receive an abundance of overwhelming information, and begin to plan for their cancer treatment journey. Numerous doctorsí appointments often replace work or other commitments, and family and friends become more important than ever.

To ease the stress and to offer guidance and support, patient navigator Pamela Nixon is available at the UConn Health Centerís William Raveis-American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program. Patient navigators serve as personal guides. With training from the American Cancer Society, they are looked upon as problem solvers, patient advocates, and the connection to helpful resources for patients and their families. The program is one of more than 145 American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Programs nationwide. Nine are in New England, with two in Connecticut, including UConnís.

Photo of Pamela Nixon talking to patient

Pamela Nixon provides resource information to a patient diagnosed with cancer.

Through her role as patient navigator, Nixon helps to connect patients to free resources and local assistance. She helps find answers to questions about financial and insurance needs, helps to locate support groups, finds resources for financial aid, offers free wig or prosthesis fittings, arranges transportation, and much more. "My role as a navigator is part of the comprehensive team effort that cancer patients receive at the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center. I let patients and their families know that Iím not only a source of information but Iím also here just to talk, see how theyíre doing, and offer support. No one should face cancer alone," says Nixon.

The William Raveis-American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program office is located inside the entrance to the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center. To meet with Nixon, patients and families may call 860-679-7820 or email her at psnixon@uchc.edu.