Early Detection of Breast Cancer in Jordan
Amman, Jordan - In collaboration with IRD, the Jordanian National Breast Cancer Program organized a Breast Cancer Early Detection workshop in March 2009. The workshop was sponsored by the Strategic Health Support (SHS) program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, which relies on a network of trained health volunteers to reach the Iraqi refugees the program serves.
The first day of the workshop brought 16 IRD health outreach volunteers together to learn actual facts about the disease and the how to’s of early detection. At first, the volunteers were nervous and wary of discussing these issues in a public forum. Yet, by the end of the three-day workshop, the volunteers realized the importance of early detection practices and were even surprised to learn the percentage of women who survive the disease and how these women can plan for the future, live a full life, and raise their children.
An additional important accomplishment was the participation of the volunteers in a session that demonstrated breast self examination, a huge improvement from the first day of the workshop, where the volunteers were visibly uncomfortable to even mention the name of the disease.
“I am very happy that I attended this workshop. Better than to be afraid, I educated myself about the facts regarding Breast Cancer, and now I can go and share this knowledge with my peers” said Um Fadi, a volunteer who attended the workshop.
After the workshop, the SHS program volunteers organized one day Breast Cancer Early Detection Awareness sessions. Over time, more and more women overcame their fears and attended these sessions to learn about the importance and benefits of breast cancer early detection with solid facts and stories. In total the SHS program trained over 600 women in the early detection of breast cancer. As a result of the sessions, the SHS program has observed increases in visits to partner clinics for free clinical examinations and mammograms and a much more open discussion amongst the women.
The Strategic Health Support program has operated in Jordan since June 2007 with trained volunteers visiting Iraqi refugees and the most vulnerable Jordanians in their homes in Amman, Irbid, and Zarqa, providing preliminary medial assessments and referring needy individuals to partner clinics