One in eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Although survival rates are among the best for any forms of cancer, those struck down by the disease face enormous emotional and physical trauma on the road to recovery.
That’s what makes Michelle Rosano’s job so important.
“Quite often the most difficult thing for patients is that they meet so many nurses and physicians during treatment. The lack of continuity can cause a lot of anxiety,” she told the Star.
Ms Rosano, a McGrath Breast Care Nurse, has recently started working at Westmead Breast Cancer Institute’s (BCI) Sunflower Clinics at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals.
An initiative by the McGrath Foundation, McGrath Breast Care Nurses meet patients at the time of screening and stay in close contact until recession.
“We become a part of someone’s life,” she said. “The goal is to be a guiding hand and familiar face for people going through a dark time.”
The Rouse Hill resident previously worked in the surgical side of breast cancer treatment as nurse at Westmead Hospital. She said crossing paths with McGrath Foundation nurses inspired her to change paths.
“I enjoyed listening to their stories and thought the impact they were having on people’s lives was amazing.
“I feel quite lucky that I get to be involved in the patients’ lives. There are tough times for sure, but it’s an incredibly rewarding experience.”
The only McGrath Breast Care Nurse working at Blacktown and Mount Druitt, Ms Rosano said her goal was to increase screening rates in the area.
“I love being able to reassure patients and families at a time when their lives have been turned upside down,” Ms Rosano said.
“It’s nice to see the relief on their faces when they realise they don’t have to navigate this on their own. But what’s better is to see them walk out the other side.”
Families can email Ms Rosano at: firstname.lastname@example.org.