SEATTLE, April 16, 2008 – The American Cancer Society (ACS) today launched its second Patient Navigator Program at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, thanks to support received from AstraZeneca. This is the third site in Washington state included in a strategic nationwide effort to significantly extend the reach of the Society's innovative Patient Navigator Program, a comprehensive initiative designed to assist individual cancer patients in negotiating the health-care system.
The ACSs' first Patient Navigator in Washington state started working with Swedish Cancer Institute patients in the summer of 2006.
"A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for patients, their families and their caregivers," said Albert B. Einstein Jr., M.D., executive director of the Swedish Cancer Institute. "ACS Cancer Navigators provide support every step of the way, from explaining what to expect with chemotherapy, to making sure patients have transportation to and from appointments. Fighting cancer is a difficult, challenging journey; but with the help of trained navigators, patients don't have to go through it alone."
The ACS Patient Navigator Program directly connects cancer patients to a cancer education and support specialist – known as a 'navigator'– who, through one-on-one relationships, serves as a personal guide to patients and caregivers as they face the psychological, emotional and financial challenges that cancer can bring. The service is free and confidential, and places an emphasis on assisting the medically underserved.
AstraZeneca's support will enable the launch of a full-time ACS Patient Navigator. According to American Cancer Society estimates, nearly 32,380 Washingtonians will be diagnosed with cancer in 2008. The gift is part of a $10 million pledge by AstraZeneca to the Society to accelerate development of at least 50 new Patient Navigator Program sites over a five-year period in communities throughout the United States.
"With funding from AstraZeneca, the ACS Patient Navigator Program at the Swedish Cancer Institute will enable us to assist patients with personalized community resources and support," said Dr. Einstein. "This program proactively reaches those patients who are most in need of specialized services and support, providing the critical link to local resources that will improve their outcomes and quality of life."
As no cancer experience is the same, ACS Patient Navigators connect patients, survivors and caregivers with the most appropriate services and programs to help improve each individual's access to health care and quality of life. Whether it is getting patients and caregivers the information they need to make treatment decisions and better understand their disease, helping them deal with the day-to-day challenges of living with cancer (i.e., transportation, insurance issues, etc.) or connecting them with community resources such as support groups, ACS Patient Navigators can provide help throughout the disease continuum – from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, into survivorship. In addition, navigators can assist with treatment compliance and follow-up care.
"AstraZeneca is thrilled to be the first corporation to give nationwide, large-scale support to the ACS Patient Navigator Program. Expanding the Patient Navigator Program in Washington state, where our employees live and work, is the perfect way to continue our collaboration," said Lisa Schoenberg, vice president of Specialty Care with AstraZeneca. "This is the beginning of a new chapter in AstraZeneca's commitment to personalized cancer care. We are proud to support the ACS Patient Navigator Program in its mission of improving patient outcomes, not only in Washington state, but in communities throughout the country."
For more information about the Navigator program at the Swedish Cancer Institute, call 206-386-2587 or 206-386-3200.
About the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program
The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides guidance for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers to help them navigate the cancer experience, with a focus on eliminating barriers to cancer care for the medically underserved. Formally launched in 2005, the Patient Navigator Program, in collaboration with community-based hospitals and cancer centers, links those affected by cancer to patient navigators who serve as personal guides for patients as they face the psychological, emotional and financial aspects of their unique cancer experience. Patient navigators receive national-level training through the American Cancer Society, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute Patient Navigation Research Program navigators, as well as localized training and opportunities for ongoing education. There are currently 87 American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program sites across the United States, including five located in the Seattle/Puget Sound area. The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program is a component of the American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Network, a suite of free, comprehensive resources to help patients and their caregivers manage the impact of cancer on their lives by providing information, day-to-day help, and emotional support.
About The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $13.35 billion dollar healthcare business with 12,200 employees committed to improving people's lives. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index. For more information visit www.astrazeneca-us.com.
About Swedish Cancer Institute
The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) opened in 1932 as the first dedicated cancer-care center west of the Mississippi. Today, SCI has a presence on all three of Swedish's hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – as well as in East King County through a new medical oncology clinic in Bellevue. A true multidisciplinary program, SCI offers a wide range of advanced cancer-treatment options in chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery – backed by extensive diagnostic capabilities, patient education and support-group services. SCI-managed radiation-therapy services are also offered at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, Highline Community Hospital in Burien, and Northwest Hospital in North Seattle. The SCI clinical-research arm encompasses industry-sponsored and cooperative group therapeutic trials, cancer screening and prevention trials, and investigator-initiated trials. Breast-cancer screening and diagnostics are available through the Swedish Breast Care Centers and mobile mammography units. SCI patients benefit from an integrated approach to care which takes into account a person's physical well-being and emotional/spiritual needs, too. From prevention and early detection, to state-of-the-art treatments and complementary therapies, to supportive and palliative care, SCI meets the individual needs of each patient. For more information, visit www.swedish.org.