ALTON, IL -- The “You’ve Got a Friend”program at Alton Memorial Hospital lets women know that they are not alone in the fight against breast cancer. The hospital’s breast health navigator, Malea Watson, RN, tends to the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of breast cancer treatment.

Following a suspicious finding, she guides the patient through the next steps, working to alleviate the stress and confusion that accompany an abnormal result.

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“As the breast health navigator, it’s my goal to facilitate care quickly,” Malea says. “I meet amazing people everyday, and I hope I can help to ease their worry in a calming and caring way.”

The navigator acts as a patient advocate by providing education, support and resources that improve the lives of breast cancer patients. She aids patients and families with information regarding financial assistance and can help with the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) for underinsured and uninsured patients.

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 Alton Memorial Hospital partners with the American Cancer Society to provide programs such as “Look Good…Feel Better.” The program teaches women ways to deal with hair loss and other cosmetic effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

Alton Memorial is having a breast exam/education event from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the hospital’s Cancer Care Center. Dr. Jetuan Rowley-Herron, a new physician on staff with AMH, will be seeing a limited amount of women that day, preferably uninsured or underinsured women ages 40-65 who have not had a breast exam or mammogram in the past year. All participants in the screening will receive a $15 CVS gift card, made possible through a CVS Caremark Community Grant. Advance registration is required. To register for the event, call 800-392-0936.

"You’ve Got a Friend”is made possible by a grant from the St. Louis Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

“We are grateful to this wonderful organization for helping us to better serve our patients,” Malea says. “We also thank the many members of our community who participate each year in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Your efforts are making medicine better.”

Malea Watson is the breast health navigator at Alton Memorial Hospital.

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