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Visit the MaineHealth Cancer Resource Center

The Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute

Thoracic (Lung) Oncology Clinical Navigator Program

The Thoracic Oncology Clinical Patient Navigator serves as a key member of the multidisciplinary team. The first point of contact with the Navigator is typically when a patient is newly diagnosed with lung cancer. This diagnosis can be devastating and often leaves patients and families feeling overwhelmed, hopeless and confused. Initial contact with the Navigator assures these patients and families that they have an advocate and an easily accessible source of information and support. The Navigator helps to ensure that patients obtain an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment in a timely and efficient manner. The Navigator also serves to educate patients regarding the diagnosis of lung cancer and its treatment. Well-educated patients usually have a greater sense of control and are able to make fully informed decisions about their care.

Key elements of the Clinical Patient Navigator's role include: 

  • Establishes early contact and develops rapport with patient/family
  • Identifies him/herself as a primary and easily accessible resource to patients with newly diagnosed or suspected lung cancer
  • Assesses patient/family level of understanding regarding the disease process and provides necessary teaching and reinforcement regarding disease, staging, and treatment options
  • Identifies and addresses barriers to timely and appropriate diagnosis and treatment
  • Assists patient in scheduling and coordinating staging studies, consultations, and other referrals in order to optimize convenience and minimize delays to initiation of treatment
  • Connects patients with appropriate health care and community resources including a social worker, dietitian, tobacco treatment specialist, ACS Navigator, medical payment specialists, etc.
  • Screens all newly diagnosed patients for available clinical trials
  • Alerts physicians to concerns about particular patients and enables better communication between patients and their physicians
  • Assures a seamless transition from the clinic to the private offices of treating physicians
  • Maintains accurate and timely communications among patients, consulting physicians and primary caregivers

Perhaps most importantly, the Patient Navigator ensures that patients know that they are not alone, and remains available to them throughout their cancer journey. After the patient's initial clinic appointment, ongoing access to the services of the Patient Navigator is provided free of charge. Patients may call or visit the Clinical Patient Navigator as often as needed for support, information and assistance throughout the course of their treatment and into their survivorship.

How to make a referral

Thoracic Oncology Clinical Patient Navigator referrals can include:

  • Any patient newly diagnosed with lung cancer or other malignancy of the chest
  • Any patient with a finding highly suspicious of thoracic malignancy
  • Patients with recurrent lung cancer
  • Post-operative lung cancer resection patients for consideration of adjuvant treatment
  • Patients with metastatic disease to the lung from other primary tumor sites
  • Case presentation for discussion at TOC conference and decision support for diagnosis, staging and treatment options
  • Patients seeking a second opinion regarding lung cancer diagnosis and treatment

To refer a patient, please contact:

Christine Robbins, RN, BSN, OCN
Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute
Clinical Patient Navigator for Thoracic Oncology
100 Campus Drive, Suite 110
Scarborough, ME 04074
Telephone: 207.396.7785



22 Bramhall Street | Portland, Maine 04102-3175 | 1-(877)-831-2129