Breast cancer contributes to 19-34% of all malignancies- indicating the high disease burden. In view of various socio-economic and cultural reasons, patients usually present at an advanced stage because of lack of awareness and nonexistent breast cancer screening programs in India. Breast self-examination (BSE) is easy cost effective and proven way for early detection.
Objective: 1. To train women for Breast self-examination in health camps 2. To determine the effectiveness of planned teaching program with respect to BSE Materials & methods: Trained workers and physician prepared a visual aid and short video in local language for breast self examination and spend average 8-12 minutes to educate a group of women. 15:1 random check was done to known their level of understanding and correctness of adopting the method. The participants were observed and supervised by doctors to complete the procedure successfully. The results of Breast Self-Examination were documented.
BSE was successfully trained for a total of 4965 women across 19 camps between 2018-2019. Out of the samples 93% of women understood accurately the right method of BSE and re-traing was felt necessary in 35% as per their perception. Among the camps 165 new cases were reported in participants. Upon physician’s examination 132 suspected participants were referred for mammographic evaluation at medical centers and malignancies were detected in 76 participants, which indicates high impact of such training programs in rural India.
Conclusion: cancer awareness and education programs should be an integral part of health camps to improve women’s health and BSE Is easy to teach and have positive impact for early detection of cancer (the detection rate of 1.5% was quite high especially in the rural areas where medical facilities are poor). If implemented in structured manner BSE is the best and cheapest option for screening women of all ages in Indian population.
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