Breast Center's Patient Navigator Earns Prestigious CertificationApr 8, 2015
Only a selection of breast centers across the US offer a Patient Navigator (PN). This is an important role, as the PN is a specialist in oncology who educates and guides patients through breast cancer care – at no charge to them or their insurance. The PN provides information, advice, and emotional support when necessary, working closely with physicians to ensure the highest quality care.
At Carondelet, Tirado often joins patients for meetings with the interdisciplinary team of medical providers to discuss treatment options and best practices. She also explains lab results, facilitates communication between patient and physician, and coordinates care.
“Maria is knowledgeable about every aspect of breast cancer care. She can guide you to resources, explain treatment options and encourage you on your journey,” says Lisa Cummings, director of business development at The Breast Center. “She is with our patients every step of the way – from diagnosis to recovery.”
The Breast Center at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital is dedicated to providing patients with comprehensive breast care. Just last month, it was granted full accreditation from the American College of Surgeons National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), the highest recognition a breast center can receive. Carondelet’s program is the first breast center in Southern Arizona to receive this distinction – making it Tucson’s first and only fully accredited breast center.
Tirado has a bachelor of science in microbiology and master’s degree in public health. Her professional experience includes several years coordinating a cancer information and education program for the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service and working as a senior research specialist for a cancer center at an academic institution. She is passionate about her work at Carondelet, supporting breast cancer patients and their families during a challenging time in their lives. Tirado connects patients to appropriate local resources, runs support groups, and speaks Spanish.
“A diagnosis of breast cancer can be difficult and confusing. Feelings of fear, anxiety, and shock are normal reactions,” says Tirado. “In my role as the breast cancer Patient Navigator, I find it personally rewarding to help those diagnosed with breast cancer navigate through their treatment and survivorship.”