Veteran Nurse Shares Story of Breast Cancer and Her Path to Becoming Nurse Navigator

Wanda Barbour Dent has a long history of nursing. In her lifetime, she has held many types of nursing positions, varying from labor and delivery to education and administration. Since 1974, she’s had tough days, but she never thought it was so bad that she had to find a different job.

However, life took a sharp turn when, in March 2014, she went in for her annual mammogram, a commonly recommended practice. Usually, there was nothing to report, but this time, she was called back. A lump had been found.

As the process began to remove the cancer, Wanda was put in contact with Allen Linton, a nurse navigator. Wanda describes her relationship with Linton as “priceless” because she could contact Linton with whatever concerns she had at any time.

Wanda’s fight against the breast cancer started with a lumpectomy, but more cancer was found in her milk duct, forcing her to receive a mastectomy. She also went through some radiation, but not chemotherapy, for the treatments showed that she was not likely to see the cancer come back.

The fight against her breast cancer came to an end seven months later with her last treatment on October 15, 2014. Coincidentally, it was the same day that her grandson was adopted, creating an exciting and celebratory atmosphere in the Dent family.

Shortly after the treatments concluded, Wanda applied for a nurse navigator position, remembering the indispensible help that Allen Linton was to her. She got the position in November of 2014, and finds herself working with breast cancer patients often. She has an understanding of the confusion that comes from being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Wanda’s story is like many others’ that are diagnosed with breast cancer. The special part is that after the journey, Wanda is in the direct path of new breast cancer patients, a job that she loves more than any other in her 42 years in the medical industry.