Young Breast Cancer Survivors Program Works with Patient Navigators

In 2019, CDC funded eight organizations for 5 years to provide structured support services and resources for young breast cancer survivors (YBCS) and metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients. These services and resources are designed to increase their survival and improve their quality of life. These organizations also provide educational resources for health care providers who serve this population.

Programs engaged patient navigators (PNs) and community health workers (CHWs) to increase access to and use of program services among people who are medically underserved by—

  • Developing a repository of resources for PNs and CHWs to provide to YBCS.
  • Providing training to increase PNs’ and CHWs’ awareness of how to reach people who are medically underserved and recommend culturally and medically appropriate resources.

Progress Toward Outcomes

Award Recipients Identified and Developed Resources

Award recipients conducted a needs assessment or an environmental scan to identify resources and programs for YBCS and MBC patients. Award recipients—

  • Developed a resource repository based on environmental scan data and partner input.
  • Created new training curricula and updated existing resources.

Award Recipients Provided Trainings for PNs and CHWs

Award recipients—

  • Participated in national conferences for professional development.
  • Provided educational opportunities for PNs and CHWs.
  • Tracked PN and CHW activities, including outreach at public events.

Johns Hopkins University helped PNs and health care providers reach 5,000 people through public outreach and radio announcements.

Facilitators and Barriers to Implementation


  • Formative research such as an environmental scan, needs assessment, and other data helped inform program planning and activities.
  • Technology such as social media and mobile applications allowed award recipients to reach priority populations.


  • Award recipients had trouble recruiting women in priority populations such as people who are medically underserved and Jewish YBCS to participate.

Barriers Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • No in-person activities could take place.
  • Staff were assigned to other activities.
  • Project partners and health care infrastructure were strained.
  • Access to health care providers was limited and recruitment was low.

Program Spotlights

Survivorship Care Plans

Sanford Health’s survivorship nurse navigators identified resources that were culturally appropriate for cancer patients and survivors in areas with large American Indian populations. The resulting resource list is included on all care plans given to patients at their survivorship visit. The list has also been added to an electronic health record system so health care providers can access it easily.

Support Groups

PNs working with Johns Hopkins University offered several support groups that met monthly. They included a group for young women with early-stage breast cancer, a group for people with MBC, and a walk-and-talk group. Topics included hope, reclaiming control, body image, yoga, nutrition, breast reconstruction, sharing personal and family stories, sleep hygiene, and bone health. More than 130 patients participated in at least one event.

More Information