They may have breast cancer. She leads them to screenings and medical care.
It was 6 p.m., and Marie Seide should have been home.
Instead, the registered nurse was eating a salad while a breast-cancer patient ate soup at the Duffy’s Sports Grill at Hypoluxo Road and Congress Avenue in Boynton Beach. They started the day together at 10 a.m at the patient’s radiation appointment.
“Before leaving her, I wanted to get her something to eat,” Seide said Friday, a day after the visit.
Seide knows why the patient needed the soup. She had breast cancer herself in 2006. Since completing her own treatment, she has helped other women find and treat the disease through Susan G. Komen Florida.
And now, women across Palm Beach County can seek out Seide and another navigator — women they know and can trust for advice on breast cancer, the most common type of cancer they can face.
Susan G. Komen Florida this week announced the countywide launch of its Community Breast Health Navigation program at Good Samaritan Medical Center. Two “navigators” — Seide and a woman who lives near in the Belle Glade area — will support women across Palm Beach County as they go through the process of getting screened for breast cancer and pursuing further treatment if they need it.
“We are bringing this program to every single woman in our community in need,” Kate Watt, Susan G. Komen Florida’s executive director, said a at a news conference Thursday. “Regardless of her income, the community they live in or race.”
The navigators help these women deal with the fear of breast cancer and its treatment. They also are available to assist with tasks such as arranging transportation to a clinic, dealing with childcare or setting up a screening, Watt said.
The program was launched in 2018 in Delray Beach with Seide as the first navigator for women living at up to 200 percent of the poverty level — about $25,000 for a family of four — and “saw innumerable results,” Watt said. The navigators conduct seminars and meetings with faith-based and community organizations.
“Nearly all the women that sought these services hadn’t had a mammogram and many had lumps on their breasts,” Watt said.
The program reached more than 1,800 women in its first year, said Amy Siegel Oran, a Susan G. Komen Florida board member. “The impact of which was felt innumerably.”
The goal is to bring timely access and care to all local women, Watt said. Komen plans to add 10 more navigators across the state within the next five years.
But every county needs one, Seide said. The Boynton Beach resident remembers sitting at the doctor’s office 14 years ago.
“I was surrounded by my husband, my children, my brother,” Seide said Friday. “But I felt so alone.”
And so many women don’t have this support, she said. So she is their support.“I’ve been there and done that,” Seide said. “So they can talk to me and open their hearts.”
Every week Seide shows breast cancer Powerpoints and fills out forms with women to get free screenings. Breast cancer is hard enough, she said; language and medical terminology barriers only make it worse.
Seide remembers going to an appointment with a Lake Worth woman two years ago.
When the woman was talking on the way to the doctor, Seide said she kept noticing the little lump on the woman’s neck.
“When we got to the doctor, the woman was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, but she never understood what the doctor was saying,” Seide said. “She was supposed to put an appointment in for chemo, but she kept missing her appointment.”
She didn’t understand that she had breast cancer.
“So since that day, I said, ‘This will never happen again. I will go with them.’ ”
Ever since, Seide has taken her clients to every appointment, usually driving them in her Nissan Altima.
Seide said she will continue helping women with cancer, whether they live in West Palm Beach or Daytona Beach. “Because how can I not?”
“Without the navigator,” she said, “we are going to lose a lot of ladies.”