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When Pam Purcell’s mammogram led to a diagnosis of breast cancer, she was ushered into the care of radiation oncologist Stephen King, MD, and medical oncologist Michael Batalo, MD, at FirstHealth Cancer Services, a comprehensive provider of cancer care and support services.
For Pam, the support services became very important. A lack of health insurance made the situation even more stressful, but FirstHealth supported her with a variety of resources. Oncology Nurse Navigators, who meet with newly diagnosed cancer patients to coordinate services, helped her connect with organizations like the Pretty in Pink Foundation and the Cancer CARE Fund, which assisted with bills, medication, and transportation.
As someone who’s self-employed, Pam would go straight to work managing her cleaning company after receiving radiation therapy. It was a draining schedule, but she says FirstHealth staff found ways to lift her spirits. “I think I went through it better than I expected because of their kindness and generosity,” she says. “The staff treated me like family. I felt so comfortable, and I could talk to them about anything.”
Even in the most challenging moments, she held on to that feeling of ease. “Some days, I would see people in radiation who were really not feeling good,” Purcell says. “I would try to talk to them and encourage them. I was comfortable enough to do that because the staff made me so comfortable. I just felt so grateful, because it could’ve been a much different story.”