Whatís the latest trend in cancer treatment? Nurse-Navigators. Hospital staffers who help steer patients through the diagnosis, the fears, and the maze of cancer-treatment options and decisions for no additional charge.

The navigators can be nurses, social workers or other workers certified in care coordination. They have access to the patientís medical records and doctors. They also help patients make informed medical decisions, set up multiple doctorsí appointments and tests and offer emotional support. Nurse-Navigators can also run interference on insurance issues, translate for non-English speakers and even make sure the patient has a ride to the doctorís office.

In fact, so many cancer centers have added Nurse-Navigators, that The Commission on Cancer will require that they all be formally accredited by 2015.

One woman we read about said that her Nurse-Navigator was crucial during her recent battle with breast cancer. She was able to get answers to all the questions she forgot to ask to ask when her doctor told her she had cancer. The nurse was in the recovery room after all of her surgeries and set up all her oncology, surgery and radiation appointments. When the only appointment the patient could get with her surgeon was in two months, the Navigator got one within a week. She even recommended a place to buy a wig after chemotherapy.

Nurse-Navigators. The future of cancer treatment is here.