Helping Lung Cancer patients navigate the system

To help patients navigate the treatment process and organize their medical appointments, the MUHC developed the Lung Cancer Navigation Program.

A diagnosis of lung cancer is a tremendous blow. The disease has one of the highest mortality rates of all cancers and the complexity of therapy—often involving radiation, chemotherapy and surgery—can leave patients feeling confused and isolated. To help patients navigate the treatment process and organize their medical appointments, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) developed the Lung Cancer Navigation Program.

“The program provides each patient with the services of a nurse pivot who guides them through the health care system,” explains Andréanne Saucier, MUHC Associate Director of Nursing, Cancer Mission and Respiratory Services. “The program is expected to reduce delays in diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, while alleviating patient anxiety.”

Over 200 patients have enrolled in the program. “Our goal was to design a generic program to make it easier for patients to access hospital services,” says Dr. David Mulder, Director of Thoracic Surgery at the MUHC. “We decided to start with lung cancer patients because their treatment is the most complex.” Lung cancer patients typically need to meet with specialists from as many as five disciplines in the course of therapy.

“Providing seamless care is a top priority of the MUHC Cancer Care Mission,” adds Ms. Saucier. “This program helps us do that, and we’ll be able to do even better when all our cancer care services are brought together at the Comprehensive Cancer Centre to be built on the Glen Campus.”