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Nurse Navigator Program Inspires Breast Cancer Survivor to Pay It Forward

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in this country. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman's survival rate. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is now 98 percent. Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by changing certain risk factors and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is a perfect time to consider breast health.As you listen to breast cancer survivor Linda Kattner share her story, you know her goal now is to help others. In 2011, just months after the death of her mother, Kattner was diagnosed with breast cancer. She endured a lumpectomy, biopsy, radiation, complications, and reconstructive surgery to bring her to a healing state. The person who provided a guiding hand throughout the process was Vicki Hallum, RN, the nurse navigator at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas.

“Vicki and I had an immediate bond the first time we met” says Kattner. “I just knew she would take good care of me. She told me everything would be alright.” Adding she’s not one to dwell on the negative in any situation, Kattner says, “If you give me a plan, I’ll go with it.” Hallum did just that. She created a plan which gave Kattner hope and the sense of control she needed to conquer the disease. In addition to a plan, Hallum provided a list of resources, including organizations that help cancer patients with chores like housecleaning. “I was amazed at the resources available,” says Kattner. And probably most important, Hallum was the voice on the other end of the telephone line, answering Kattner’s questions and providing reassurance to her any hour of the day or night. “I strongly encourage anyone going through cancer to take advantage of the nurse navigator services,” says Kattner. “It made such a difference for me.”

Nurse Navigator Vicki Hallum, RN, says her passion is oncology nursing, adding that she has walked several of her family members through the cancer experience. With almost 20 years of nursing experience, including oncology, radiation oncology, chemotherapy, research, and stem cell/bone marrow transplants, Hallum feels she is uniquely qualified to communicate and discuss all the issues surrounding cancer with both compassion and wisdom.  “I want to make sure patients are knowledgeable and know what questions to ask,” says Hallum, who believes knowledge is power. “The more knowledgeable the patient is the more empowered they feel, and the better success they will have.”

Kattner says that now that she is feeling better, she has resumed her exercise routine. She walks ½ mile and runs ½ miles on the weekends. Since she’s feeling well, she wants to help others dealing with breast cancer. “If I can help someone else by sharing my story and making them more aware of breast cancer, I want to do it,” Kattner says.  “I want to pay it forward,” she says. “Helping others feels like home.”

For more information on the Nurse Navigator Program at Methodist Charlton Medical Center, contact Vicki Hallum at Methodist Charlton Medical Center at 214-947-5479.

About the Methodist Charlton Nurse Navigator Program
The nurse navigator initially contacts a patient when a biopsy is scheduled to answer any questions about the procedure. They then follow the patient all the way through treatment, visit them in the hospital, and call them to follow up once they go home. Working in partnership with the American Cancer Society, the Methodist Charlton’s Nurse Navigator program offers many educational materials to the patient, including a personal health manager, organizers for medication and appointments, and other resources. Patients also have an opportunity to participate in the Look Good…Feel Better program which teaches beauty techniques for cancer patients, and Reach to Recovery, which pairs a cancer survivor with a patient as a mentor. The Nurse Navigator Program is part of the many services Methodist Charlton offers cancer patients, including specialists, surgeons, genetic counseling, reconstruction surgery, and affiliations with Texas Oncology-Methodist Charlton Medical Center and Cancer Institute of Dallas nearby. For more information on the program, call 214-947-5479.

About Methodist Health System
Guided by the founding principles of life, learning, and compassion, Methodist Health System (Methodist) provides quality, integrated care to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas.   Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, Methodist Midlothian Health Center, and Methodist Family Health Centers are part of the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. Additional information is available at www.methodisthealthsystem.org. Connect with us through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at www.methodisthealthsystem.org/socialmedia.

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System.


Lynette Wilkinson

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