Provincial Patient Navigation Program
Bridging the Gaps in Cancer Care
No one ever plans on hearing “you have cancer.” It’s a small phrase with a life-altering impact. A new cancer diagnosis can leave people feeling vulnerable and disoriented. And for some patients, the questions about what happens next can be overwhelming. What are my treatment options? What happens after each phase of treatment? How are appointments at my community cancer centre coordinated with those at the major cancer centers? What rehabilitation services are available after treatment? Fortunately, in Alberta, these patients never have to face cancer alone. The Provincial Patient Navigation Program is there with answers, and help.
The Provincial Patient Navigation Program employs registered nurses, or navigators, with specialized training in cancer care to assist eligible Albertans who have been diagnosed with cancer, and their families. Navigators work with patients to oversee transitions between multiple care providers, access resources and community support programs, and overcome potential barriers to care.
The program promotes equality and accessibility in health care by focusing on people-centered support for three specific populations of Albertans living with cancer:
Patients Living in Rural Areas
Rural patient navigators support all patients with cancer who live outside of Alberta’s metropolis areas. Navigators provide guidance and act as a liaison between patients, their nearest community cancer centre, more comprehensive cancer centres with specialized oncology services, support programs, and health care providers. This gateway ensures continuity of care and close to home support whenever possible for patients living in rural areas.
Adolescent and Young Adult Patients
The adolescent and young adult patient navigators are a resource to support cancer patients who are between the ages of 15 and 39. For these patients, cancer can be especially difficult, affecting their education and employment, relationships with peers and loved ones, fertility and more. The adolescent and young adult patient navigation staff work in multidisciplinary teams to address adolescent and young adult patients’ distinctive needs throughout each phase of their cancer journey.
The Provincial Patient Navigation Program supports Indigenous cancer patients across the province, connecting them with navigators who can help them understand their treatment pathway and manage some of the barriers and challenges they may face. This includes acting as an advocate and voice for patients and helping health-care professionals to better understand Indigenous peoples and their cultural ways, as well as the historical trauma that can affect a patient’s ability to access health services.
In 2021, 6,444 cancer patients or families benefited from the Provincial Patient Navigation Program. These patients reported that the program’s staff contributed to a sense of stability and security, ensured timely access to necessary information, coordinated additional community supports, and offered individualized care to meet specific areas of need. Over 90 per cent of appointments with patient navigators took place virtually, saving Alberta’s health care system over $1 million by alleviating visits to physicians and emergency rooms for non-emergent issues.
Donor support helps the Alberta Cancer Foundation provide vital funding for the Provincial Patient Navigation Program, ensuring cancer patients across Alberta, and their families, receive the support they need to navigate their cancer journeys. Help us ensure no one has to face cancer alone.
Donate Now to Support Patient Experience in Alberta Through Programs Like the Provincial Patient Navigation Program
Provincial Patient Navigation Program Contact Information:
Barrhead Community Cancer Centre
Barrhead, AB • 780-674-2221 Ext.2036
Bonnyville Community Cancer Centre
Bonnyville, AB • 780-826-3311 Ext. 3162
Bow Valley Community Cancer Centre
Canmore, AB • 403-493-4867
Camrose Community Cancer Centre
Camrose, AB • 780-679-2837
Central Alberta Cancer Centre
Red Deer, AB • 403-343-4526
Drayton Valley Community Cancer Centre
Drayton Valley, AB • 780-621-8087
Drumheller Community Cancer Centre
Drumheller, AB • 403-820-6011
Fort McMurray Community Cancer Centre
Fort McMurray, AB • 780-788-1751
Grande Prairie Cancer Centre
Grande Prairie, AB • 780-538-7588
High River Community Cancer Centre
High River, AB • 403-652-0131
Hinton Community Cancer Centre
Hinton, AB • 780-817-5009
Jack Ady Cancer Centre
Lethbridge, AB • 403-388-6800
Lloydminster Community Cancer Centre
Lloydminster, AB • 306-820-6144
Margery E. Yuill Cancer Centre
Medicine Hat, AB • 403-502-8648 Ext.1022
Peace River Community Cancer Centre
Please contact Grande Prairie Cancer Centre