Conni James loves her job. She’s a Registered Nurse. But James also has another title, a nurse navigator.

Conni James loves her job. She’s a Registered Nurse. But James also has another title, a nurse navigator.

She works at The Breast Center inside Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence.

Her job is to provide critical communication between the patients and doctors and the results of their breast exams.

She started as a navigator at the relatively new center this March.

Her job is becoming more important as more emphasis is placed on health care providers in treating and preventing breast cancer.

James’ job duties include constant contact with patients. She notifies them of their mammography appointment.

She keeps track of a database that holds around 700 patients a year who get mammograms at Centerpoint.

If they need additional imaging, she calls to tell them. If they need a biopsy, she tells them.

“Is this something to be worried about?” James said, repeating this question she gets asked from patients the most.

“I don’t tell them no,” she said, “because I don’t know for sure. But I tell them there is an area the doctor wants to take a closer look at.”

She gave this tip to women who have a biopsy: Don’t have a panic attack. She said well over half of results from biopsies are benign.

An important duty is to keep in communication with radiologist to see if patients need further testing and the results of the tests so she can contact the patients about the results of those tests.

The navigator is just one of many advantages The Breast Center has in improving patient care at Centerpoint, according to Linda Dunaway, director of imaging services at the hospital.

“This is an opportunity for us to meet the needs of the patients,” Dunaway said. James is a liaison between the patient and doctors. She’s in constant contact with patients. “This can only be a benefit to them. This gives our patients the satisfaction of knowing we have their best interest at heart.

The numbers of people who can get breast cancer are alarmingly high, according to health experts.

By age 35, a woman has a 1 in 622 chance of being diagnosed. By age 55, it’s lowered to 1 in 33.

The advent of $7 million worth of machines and technology has helped the center stay cutting edge in the fight against the deadly cancer, Dunaway said.

For example, the breast ultrasound machine uses sound waves to make a picture of the tissues inside the breast, including areas that is hard to study with a mammogram.

Breast ultrasound, also known as sonography, is frequently used to evaluate breast abnormalities that are found during a diagnostic mammogram.

Last week,The Breast Center held an open house. The goal was for the employees and public to get to tour the facility and experience what it’s all about.0