Name of the activity: Breast Cancer Awareness Programme 2018

Country/NMO: India (MSAI)

Program: Healthy Lifestyles & Non-Communicable Diseases

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education. Education on health issues for specific societal groups, either in the form of projects (set of tasks for a certain group over a fixed period of time), events (something notable that happens) or conferences (form meeting about ideas related to a particular topic, usually over several days).

General description:

Breast Cancer Awareness Programme (BCAP) was launched in November 2018, parallel to another activity on Prostate Cancer to raise awareness among men and women about cancers of sexual organs. The target population was any group of women likely to be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime.

The event consisted of first, filling out a pre-event questionnaire by the women. Then, volunteers begin by talking about breast cancer, what it is, how to detect it early and BSE. This was followed by demonstration of BSE by volunteers and then by the women on themselves. Then the volunteers spoke in groups to women about getting past the stigma of clinical breast exams and about putting health over stigma. Then post-event questionnaire responses were collected to aid us in quantitative evaluation. We have had 23 such events across the country and have reached 777 women so far.

Focus area:

Cancer

Problem statement:

India has a low survival rate for breast cancer, with only 66.1% of women diagnosed with the disease in 2010-14 surviving according to a study on trends in cancer survival. The major reason for low survival rates of breast cancer is low awareness & knowledge about signs of breast cancer, screening methods and treatment. Raising general public awareness introduces community participation in its control. Early detection in order to improve outcome and survival is crucial to breast cancer control.

Target groups:

General population, Women

Beneficiaries:

General population, Medical students, Healthcare Students, Women

Objectives and indicators of success:

Objective (O): To educate women about breast cancer, its diagnosis & prognosis, via interactive discussions

Indicator (I): More than 50% women have understood what breast cancer is and why it is important to screen for breast cancer

O: To raise awareness about benefits of proper screening practices for breast cancer, especially but not limited to breast self-examination (BSE), also via interactive discussions

I: More than 50% women understand the importance of BSE

O:To train women to be able to examine their own breasts by an exam demonstration

I: More than 50% women have learnt satisfactorily how to perform BSE on themselves

O:To erase the stigma of going to a doctor/clinic to have ones breasts examined via interactive one-on-one discussions with women where they are made to feel comfortable enough to open up

O: To raise more empathetic future healthcare professionals through the process of them learning how to address the fears and concerns that a patient has and learning how to communicate with their patients better.

I: More than 50% women felt comfortable enough to open up and discuss breast cancer in a positive and non-stigmatising manner

Methodology:

Event organisers brief the volunteers about the information to be disseminated to women. Then, the participants go to the women and talk to them individually or in small groups. Before and after talking to each woman, volunteers ask them questions and fill up the pre and post event questionnaires that they have been provided with. Major focus of the discussion would be on how early detection improves the prognosis of breast cancer. This is followed by an activity to teach the women how to perform breast self examination. The participants should make the women feel comfortable, answer their doubts, clear misconceptions they might have and encourage early detection methods.

Plans for evaluation:

We plan to evaluate it with a quantitative evaluation of the responses of a simple pre and post event questionnaire that asks yes/no type of questions. Apart from this, for self evaluation by the event organisers, we have pre and post event forms where they fill in their individual goals and objectives of the event, positive and negative aspects of the event, and other feedback for the National Team. Another qualitative evaluation done by volunteers is of the women’s knolwedge of BSE at the end of the sessions.