LAYTON -- Being a part of a patient's journey from cancer diagnosis to cure is a priceless experience for Nancy McFarland.
McFarland, who recently achieved the status of Certified Breast Patient Navigator for both imaging and cancer treatment at Davis Hospital and Medical Center, said a diagnosis of breast cancer is, of course, unsettling, and each patient's journey is different.
"There is so much a patient needs to know and do as they move through their journey from surgery to cure," McFarland said. "Using a certified navigator can lessen the burden."
A patient navigator helps patients with issues and concerns that are often overlooked, and provides information about financial, educational and support resources. McFarland also functions as a member of a multidisciplinary treatment team, assists patients with appointments and scheduling, and helps them keep a journal containing information about their treatment plans, tests, images and appointments.
Most important, she said, is that she becomes a source of support and maintains close contact with the patient, both personally and electronically.
"Cancer treatment is stressful enough without having to worry about details such as scheduling appointments and researching financial resources," said Mike Jensen, CEO at Davis Hospital and Medical Center. "That's why Nancy is side by side with her patients from the beginning of the process, to literally help them navigate the way to successful recovery."
Born and raised in Ogden, McFarland graduated from Weber High School and Weber State University. She said she has always been interested in the medical field and wanted to choose a path offering many possibilities.
In her career, McFarland has gained 25 years of experience in medical imaging -- 18 of which have been focused on mammography. She received her certification from the National Consortium of Breast Centers.
"Screening mammograms are a very important, potentially lifesaving exam," she said. "Please begin routine screening at age 40 or earlier if advised by your physician, followed by yearly routine screening. We can't prevent breast cancer, but we can improve survival rates if cancer is detected early, even before you can feel it."
McFarland said she is thrilled with her new certification and will continue to ensure timely and efficient delivery of breast cancer care and services to her patients.
"The less uncertainty there is, the better patients feel about the whole process," she said. "While the ultimate goal is recovery for each and every patient, I'm here to take as many bumps out of the road to recovery as possible."