Jenni is passionate about women receiving the best care

31 March 2020

I was 21 when my mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer, my two younger sisters were eight and eleven at the time. I was devastated by this news and I worried for the future of my sisters as they were still so young. My mother enjoyed another 10 years following her initial treatment but unfortunately died of her advanced breast cancer. Our family nursed her at home until the end, which is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

In the early years of my nursing career I worked in an inpatient Oncology ward. I thought I understood how women diagnosed with breast cancer must feel but when it is your own mother, it is a very different experience.

My mother died in the same year that I completed a post-graduate qualification in research. Throughout my studies I had been inspired to work in research as a means of making positive change.

I have now been working as a research nurse at the Breast Care Centre, Waikato Hospital since 1997. Since then, I have worked with local specialists and consider myself very fortunate in my professional life to be able to make a difference with extending women’s lives after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Here in the Waikato region we are one of NZ’s leading breast cancer research centres. As well as our own studies, we collaborate on clinical trials with the Breast Cancer Trials and other major groups around the world.

In 2000, I was one of a group of committed people who set up the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust, a charitable trust which enables our extensive Waikato research and audit programme.

In the Waikato, more than one woman is diagnosed each day. For every woman diagnosed there are family members and loved ones who are also affected. My commitment to breast cancer research remains stronger than ever. With the knowledge, we have gained from research, I am determined, along with my colleagues, that our women receive the best care possible!

Jenni Scarlet – Research Nurse& Secretary, Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust