Worldwide, October is considered as the month of awareness of breast cancer. According to the Ministry of Health, breath cancer is considered as the second most common cause of death after cardiovascular diseases in Palestine and globally. Amongst the different types of cancer, breast cancer is the most deadly one for women.
These facts already gave good reasons for the community health workers to focus on this topic.
Furthermore breast cancer in particular has some cultural aspects. In some villages for example the husband would ask for divorce when he knew his wife is having cancer. Also, some people may cancel the marriage with a daughter of a woman with breast cancer. These cultural aspects also become a barrier for women in Palestine, preventing them from going to specialized clinics for further investigation like mammography or ultrasound or even biopsy.
Therefore, the community health workers realized that there is a need for raising awareness of breast cancer and also to equip women with practical skills and information. Besides lectures about the risks of getting breast cancer and medical information, women were taught how to do self-examinations at home, in order to discover a potential breast cancer at an early stage.
Self-examinations can be seen as the first step of taking a decision to fight against breast cancer. But is it also important to understand the plan of treatment and the therapy. Providing this information can destroy the wall of fear of asking for help and enable women to start the fight for their health.
Dr Gadeer Salhab, the manager of breast cancer unit at Beit Jala Hospital and her assistant were giving the lecture to the participants in a practical and understandable way by using an artificial model.
Our community health workers showed a strong spirit and worked together in organizing this event. Many of them have a personal story of relatives with breast cancer, which makes them even more interested to fight hand in hand against breast cancer. We also chose this slogan as a logo for our T-shirts.
Dr Naief Kasabra, a famous oncologist in our area also played an important role in training our community health workers and educating them by using stories from his experience with patients with breast cancer. He offered a couple of lectures during this month.