Breast Cancer Navigation and Survivorship

February 2014 Vol 5, No 1

Memphis, TN — One of the most popular breakout sessions at the Fourth Annual Conference of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) focused on breast cancer navigation and survivorship. This session featured 2 speakers, Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Vinnie Myers, a tattoo artist.

Breast Cancer Survivorship Initiatives

After recalling a hilarious personal anecdote related to her experience with stick-on nipples for her breast prostheses, Lillie Shockney introduced Dr Meneses, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing.

Dr Meneses is an internationally recognized nurse scientist in cancer survivorship. In 2013, she was appointed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women. Most recently, Dr Meneses created the Young Breast Cancer Survivorship Network (YBCSN), which aims to improve the quality of life (QOL) for young breast cancer survivors and their loved ones through education, personal support, distance learning, and networking.

During the AONN+ meeting, Dr Meneses, an oncology nurse who has been in practice for nearly 40 years, shared her unique experience developing and evaluating educational interventions for breast cancer survivors in the Southeast.

To underscore the need for breast cancer survivorship initiatives, Dr Meneses reminded the audience of the growing number of breast cancer survivors. Over 13.7 million people in the United States or 4% of the population have survived cancer. Of these, approximately 22% had breast cancer, making breast cancer survivors the largest group of cancer survivors in the United States. These numbers will only continue to grow; the National Cancer Institute (NCI) projects more than 18 million cancer survivors in 2022.

Dr Meneses then introduced navigators to the research approach that she and her team use when evaluating programs directed toward breast cancer survivors. These research efforts, known as behavioral studies, are led by multidisciplinary teams. Their goal is to determine if a given intervention, such as a multicomponent educational program, enhances patients

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