Avera Medical Minute: How Avera Race impacts local cancer care

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:34 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Avera Race Against Cancer takes place this Saturday.

Some of the money raised goes to the Avera Cancer Institute Navigation Center, and manager Christina Early talks about what the center does to support patients and their families.

“We have a 24-hour service available within the Avera footprint, and we are staffed by nurse navigators and social workers,” said Early. “If someone is diagnosed, or they have a loved one that is diagnosed with cancer, our primary role is to be that extra layer of support by providing that education support or the next steps of what to expect during treatment, and also help with any symptoms or side effects that they are having while they are going through treatment. Another thing that we do is identify resources that are available. Our social workers make sure that we identify community resources, financial resources — really connecting them to support close to home.”

Early also spoke about who can access information.

“We have more involvement with Avera patients because we have access to their medical records, but really, we are a community service,” Early said. “Even if you are not receiving care at Avera, we would love for you to call us. We want to really be the local expert on cancer care.”

Early talked about how the Avera Race Against Cancer funds help the Navigation Center.

“We are a philanthropically-funded department, so when we started about seven years ago, we had amazing benefactors that supported the startup. But we’ve continued to be in existence because of funds through the race. Again, the race funds stay local, so if you are participating here in Sioux Falls, you’ll directly impact the Avera Cancer Institute here in Sioux Falls. But a lot of our other regions — we have six total Avera Cancer Institute locations — are also doing a version of the race. The Navigation Center supports all six of our regions.

For more information about the Avera Cancer Institute Navigation Center, visit avera.org/medicalminute.