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New program helps patients at Freeman with breast cancer - KOAM TV 7

New program helps patients at Freeman with breast cancer

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Hearing that you've been diagnosed with cancer can bring a whirlwind of emotions.  A new program at Joplin's Freeman Health Systems hopes to provide some comfort.

Breast cancer isn't stopping patients like Jessica Pratt from living their life.

"It was not what I expected, so at first it was a shock - cried," says Jessica.  "Looked at my husband, we cried, and something inside me said we have to get through this.  So I sat up and asked my doctor 'what do we have to do?' and I've just been fighting it ever since."

It's been a little over three months since Jessica began her chemotherapy in November.  Along with the support of family and friends Jessica has had one person by her side through the entire process.

Jennifer Hargus is a breast cancer patient navigator at Freeman Health System's Women Center.  The goal of the program is to help patients with their concerns and anxieties relating to their diagnosis.

"I was there when they gave her results and just been able to help her through her process - she's allowed me to go to all her appointments and help her and the family," says Jennifer.  "You're bombarded with a lot of information.  And, too, it's hard to first hear that diagnosis, and then take in that information you're given.  So by being the breast cancer navigator I can be that one constant person for them to call and ask questions."

"She's just been amazing," Jessica says.  "Any time I've needed anything, day or night.  It could be something from a major question to 'I'm having a bad day' or you know, just whatever, she's just been there and it's been awesome to know that I have someone that is knowledgeable in the field and the support.  It's just amazing not only me but for my whole family."

Jessica offers this advice to anyone dealing with cancer or any disease:  "Be encouraged and know that there's hope.  Don't give up and lean on support from others.  And just get through it."

Jessica will continue with regular chemotherapy checkups every three weeks for the rest of the year.

Jessica says her side effects of the chemotherapy have been minimal.  She's been staying active and even plans to run a 5K marathon for Team Jessica in the Race for the Cure in a few weeks. 

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