When Sharon Cavone, RN meets patients for the first time, she understands if they are a little preoccupied and stressed.

As the oncology nurse navigator at Princeton Medical Center (PMC), Cavone’s first meeting with new patients usually comes just after they have learned that they have cancer. Patients often will bring a friend or family member along for moral support and “a second set of ears.”

Cavone works with the patients to get a sense of how well they understand their diagnoses and treatment options. She also begins an evaluation of their individual circumstances.

  • Do they have a support system of family and friends who can help?
  • Do they have reliable transportation?
  • What is their job situation?
  • What kind of insurance do they have?
  • Are they caregivers to a child, partner, or an elderly relative?

Cavone looks to identify and help to address any potential barriers to patients continuing with their treatment. She also assists with second opinion appointments, follows up continuously throughout their treatment, and links them to support services. Fortunately, those services might be available just down the hall. The Edward & Marie Matthews Center for Cancer Care at PMC gives patients access to a comprehensive continuum of care — including advanced treatment methods, a wide range of complementary therapies, clinical trials, and support services — that can be personalized to each individual’s needs.

From Cavone’s office, new patients most likely will go to see Joanita Miranda, LCSW, the cancer center’s oncology social worker and financial navigator. Miranda will conduct an assessment, offer counseling, and provide resources to help patients cope with the reality of their diagnosis and the physical and emotional stress of treatment. She also works with other staff members to recognize the patients who may need additional support along the way. “I love focusing on helping people feel just a little bit less anxious and scared, worry a little less, and to let them know that we are here to help,” Miranda said.

Mehreen Husain, RDN, board certified in oncology nutrition, works with high-risk patients, educating them on how to make better nutritional choices to stay hydrated and maintain weight, especially when dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy. She and the patients work to set weekly goals on a path to success. “I help patients and their caregivers develop a plan which empowers them to achieve proper nutrition,” Husain said. “Better nutrition helps the body to heal and deal with side effects. I provide the tools to go further and live in a much healthier manner beyond cancer.”


Karen Davison, RN, the oncology nurse navigator, survivorship and wellness, connects patients and their loved ones to an array of complementary therapies, including yoga, mindful movement, massage, reiki, art therapy and pet therapy, that are designed to alleviate stress and promote wellness. Davison also links patients to valuable educational programs covering topics such as preventive care, nutrition, and living beyond cancer, as well as cancer-themed support groups, which offer patients the opportunity to meet fellow patients who are navigating similar journeys. The support groups give patients, family, and friends both a social outlet and supportive, positive environment to share experiences and concerns and solutions for coping with the side effects of their treatment. 

Those programs are offered free of charge. However, the center’s staff recognizes that patients often encounter other financial burdens while progressing through treatment and recovery.

Miranda doubles as the center’s financial navigator, helping patients to understand their insurance coverage, the terminology in their bills and helping to lower the cost of cancer care when possible. She proactively screens high-risk patients — those who are uninsured, for example, or have coverage with high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs — and helps patients seek out pharmaceutical assistance or funding that might be available from foundations and other charitable organizations. Her goal is to ease the stress of financial concerns so that patients can concentrate on healing.

Tina Inverso, RN, the center’s oncology research nurse, works closely with the oncology team to help identify patients who might benefit from one of the clinical trials available through the center. Clinical trials are research studies that test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, and control cancer. Participation in clinical trials is entirely voluntary, is managed at the center, and takes place under the care of a physician.

The center looks for oncology clinical trials that are a good fit for their patient population and that will help answer questions about cancer, leading to better ways to manage care.

“Information collected in an oncology clinical trial helps future patients,” Inverso said. “The opportunity to help others with cancer is one reason patients choose to enroll.”

A cancer diagnosis is life-altering news, no matter how prepared someone may be. Each person’s story is unique and extremely personal. For Cavone, “it is a deeply rewarding experience to be allowed into someone’s life. I get to walk the journey with them and help guide them — through the diagnosis and treatment.”




Restorative Yoga

Wednesdays, November 6 & 20 | 6 – 7 pm

Edward & Marie Matthews Center for Cancer Care

Princeton Medical Center, 1 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro, NJ

Registration required. Call 609.853.6787.

Open to patients receiving cancer care and those who have completed treatment.


Mindful Movement

Thursdays, November 7, 14, & 21 | 10 – 11 am

Edward & Marie Matthews Center for Cancer Care

Princeton Medical Center, 1 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro, NJ

Registration preferred. Call 609.853.6787.

This class combines gentle exercises with yogic breathing, guided imagery, and meditation to provide an effective, low-impact workout for patients undergoing cancer treatment.



Open to patients, their families, and other loved ones. Walk-ins welcome.


Breast Cancer

Tuesday, November 12 | 6 – 7:30 pm

PMC Breast Health Center

East Windsor Medical Commons 2, 300B Princeton-Hightstown Road, East Windsor, NJ


Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, November 13 | Noon – 1:30 pm

Edward & Marie Matthews Center for Cancer Care

Princeton Medical Center, 1 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro, NJ



Tuesday, November 19 | 1:30 – 3 pm

Monroe Township Senior Center

12 Halsey Reed Road, Monroe, NJ


Head & Neck Cancer

Wednesday, November 20 | Noon – 1:30 pm

Edward & Marie Matthews Center for Cancer Care

Princeton Medical Center, 1 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro, NJ

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