Tuesday and Wednesday the breast health education continued, with Paula Delpech taking the lead. During these two days, the Lay Community Health Workers began to work with breast models, which allows them to visualize clearly lumps and actually locate these abnormalities. A video was also introduced to facilitate training. Palpitation, the word used to describe the physical inspection of the breasts, was prominent at this juncture.
Discussions were held on the symptoms of breast cancer, barriers to screening, and adopting a healthy lifestyle. The symptoms discussed included a lump or thickening in the breast, a change in size, and discharge from the nipple, while the lifestyle factors mentioned relate to smoking, proper diet, and exercise.
This part of the training is definitely the most challenging and sensitive. The health workers, however, seemed focused and intent on learning how to train women to perform breast self-examinations. Toward the end of this segment, the emphasis shifted to documenting the results of exams. For example, they were instructed on how to describe the location, size, and texture of an abnormality. Stress was placed on noticing and documenting any changes in the breasts.
Tomorrow, in the morning, classroom instruction continues. In the afternoon more home visits are scheduled. These visitations are exciting and very productive. After all, the more visible a health worker is in the community, the stronger the bonds that are developed.