Know Before You Go

Aims to Help African-American Breast Cancer Patients

by Jo Giles

Not once, not twice but three times. Linda Briggs can tell you about each of her bouts with breast cancer.

“When the doctor said, ‘You have breast cancer’, it takes the wind out of you. You go into fear mode and that’s how I made my treatment decisions,” Briggs said.

Her third battle with breast cancer taught her that there’s a better way to make treatment decisions. And she’s working with the Nebraska Breast Health Navigator program to help other women.

The Nebraska Breast Health Navigator program trains women, like Briggs, on the latest and best treatment options. Then, the navigators can go with women diagnosed with breast cancer to their health care appointments at any health system in the Omaha area.

“We are not there to ask questions or make decisions for the women, but we listen and encourage each woman to ask the right questions and get information so that she can make her treatment decision,” Briggs said.

The Know Before You Go campaign is designed to support women once they are told they have breast cancer. Before they go back for treatment, they can call a breast health navigator to go with them. And it’s free.

“It’s critical for women, especially African American women to know they have options. Too many of us have unnecessary procedures,” said Jackie Hill, co-director of the Nebraska Breast Health Navigator program and community nurse liaison in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health.