On 6th July, 2015 an awareness workshop about breast cancer was held at Youth Development Center, Gilgit (YDC) with YDC boarders. Breast cancer is one of the alarming health issues in today’s world. According to a report on 25 Oct, 2014 in the Dawn newspaper, Pakistan has the highest rates of breast cancer in Asia, “One in four women have breast cancer in Pakistan (Wasif).” In our society due to lack of knowledge and stigmatization breast cancer is least discuss because of which earlier diagnoses of breast cancer is difficult. Breast cancer not only suffers the patients but the family members also endure social and finical problems. The session, “Awareness about Breast Cancer” aims to empower young women to talk about the most dangerous and the ignorant health issues in women with related people, such as, doctors, friends, and family members.
Following are the objectives of the session; “Awareness about Breast Cancer”
- Awareness about some common women cancers.
- Make boarders more conscious about their health in future.
- Enhance the knowledge of boarders about women cancers.
- Teach self-examination for some gynecological cancers and breast cancer to prevent such cancers in young girls.
- Enhance the confidence of boarders to share their ideas about female related health issues with related people such as doctors, family members or with friends if needed.
To make the session attention-grabbing and more prolific a multimedia with sound box was used to show short videos about different kind of gynecological cancers, especially about the breast cancer its symptoms, treatments and prevention. The chronological order of videos was from general to specific means first a short video on different women related cancers was shown to then a short video on breast cancer and finally self-examination for breast cancer was shown to the YDC girls then about breast cancer and finally about self examination. After every video the medical terminologies and other unclear things from videos were explained to the boarders. After the short video the self-examination for breast cancer was again shown by the facilitation and every step for self-examination was explained and shown to the girls. Then the boarders were asked to repeat the steps so that they can learn it in a proper way. At the end of the workshop some girls were asked to write a feedback to have a maximum out of the upcoming sessions.
Response of the Participants
According to the YDC boarders, often, women’s health related problems are stigmatized in our society. Usually, young girls didn’t get an optimistic buoyant force to talk about their bodies and to share gynecological problems even in the friend circles or with family members. This session was the wonderful opportunity for the young YDC boarders to learn about their bodies and to get awareness about gynecological issues in a friendly environment. They were happy to learn the self examination for breast cancer. According to the boarders they will also teach self examination for breast cancer to their friends and female family members back at home. In this way not only the 24 boarders who attend the workshop will get benefit from it, but also other hundreds will learn it from them. As a result, more women will empower to take the responsibility of their health. Studies have shown that an earlier diagnosis of cancer is treatable, less risky and financially friendly as compare to diagnoses at later stages of cancer. Boarders were very keen to learn and to teach about the death-defying health issues which help them to have earlier diagnoses. Many of the boarders were also planning to arrange small workshops at their neighborhoods with their friends and relatives about women health and self examination for breast cancer. I hope one day each and every woman will know about their health if our youth will have this much eager to learn and makes other learn about the least spoken health issues in our communities.
Impact of the workshop
- Have an optimistic approach to the so called taboos and stigmas related women health problems and have audacity to talk about women health issues with related people.
- Awareness about breast cancer, learn self-examination for breast cancer and persuade others to learn about it.
- Be aware to take responsibility of their health before any serious problem and give confidence to others to be responsible for their health.
- Some boarders were making notes to imply the prevention of breast cancer such as, everyday a 30 minutes of exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables, doing regular self examination etc.
Reference: DAWN newspaper, 25 Oct, 2014, Pakistan has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia. Reporter: Wasif.
Some visuals from the workshop
Explaining medical terminologies during the session
Watching a video: breast cancer symptoms, treatments and preventions
Report prepared by: Farida Naz, an intern at Hashoo Foundation, Gilgit, Peer Health Educator and Residential life Assistant at Asian University for Women, Student of Public health at Asian University for Women.