The population of Turkey is over 82 million and nearly the 50% is women. Breast cancer is an important public health issue in Turkey and it is the major cancer kind that threatens women. It is estimated that over 30,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Although breast cancer cases generally occur in women over 40 years old, the numbers that strike women who are in their 20’s have increased in Turkey in the last years. Younger women ignore the warning signs because they are unaware of the illness and some believe they are too young to get breast cancer. At this point preventive community health approach is essential at younger ages. It is particularly important to reach out target groups through trained health personnel. The idea is to arm girls with information — to get them familiar with their own breasts so they can spot any troubling changes.
For this reason, The Breast Cancer Foundation of Turkey has a commitment to developing educational strategies to reduce breast cancer risk for the current generation in Turkey. Statistics demonstrate that a high percentage of women in Turkey have or will develop breast cancer. If awareness of the threat of breast cancer among young girls is increased and the disease is diagnosed at an early stage, the incidences of breast cancer in Turkey can decrease considerably.
The Breast Health Peer Education Program has been implemented in high schools and universities in Istanbul since 2007, reaching nearly 40 000 girls. In the beginning it was a single lesson module to be carried out through specially trained female volunteer Nursing students aged 16-17 and +18 to reach their adolescent peers, at high schools and universities. The program is designed to increase awareness of breast cancer risk factors relevant to teens and the importance of early detection. By taking action and practicing healthy behaviours, a teen girl today may reduce some of her lifetime risks for this disease.
The program promotes positive youth development by giving future nurses an opportunity to share the accurate knowledge about breast health with their peers, communities and their families. It gives them the chance to practice their profession by improving their educational opportunities, life and professional skills. It helps them to make a positive contribution to their societies.
Breast Health Peer Education Program is the first established effective model in breast health education that has never been implemented before in Turkey. Moreover, the program contributes to youth development by giving young people who are studying at nursing schools an opportunity to practice and experience in community health issues. It gives them the chance to develop by improving their educational opportunities, life and professional skills.
It is known that peer-to-peer education is the most effective way to communicate preventive health information and to reduce risky behaviours with youth all around the world. However, it is not quite common in Turkish education system. Breast Foundation of Turkey has created the one and only innovative ground-breaking breast cancer program, for adolescents, ages 13 – 17 that can be used by schools and health educators in communities looking for creative ways to reach youth with breast cancer risk reduction messages.
By being educated and informed about breast cancer now, young women can understand what some family members and other adults in the community may be experiencing. They can talk more to friends and family about what they have learned from the program. By taking action, a teen girl today may reduce some of her lifetime risk for this disease. By practicing healthy behaviours, young adults can reduce their risk for breast cancer and other health problems and feel more fit in the process. With regular breast health exams, a woman can increase her odds for a good treatment outcome. There are new discoveries, technology and knowledge that will change how breast cancer is prevented, detected and treated for their age group in the years to come. Beginning today, “keeping abreast” of information on modifiable risk factors are steps to staying healthy. Awareness of this information helps people to make healthy choices to reduce their breast cancer risk overall.
The comprehensive program evaluation justifies the project outcomes as;
Despite the interest shown in our Foundation’s project it was not possible to carry out a nationwide program. For this reason, our foundation has decided to take advantage of technology, with the aim of spreading preventive health awareness about breast health and early diagnosis throughout the society with voluntary support.
The volunteers who take part in the project can access this platform and the comprehensive information on the subject. They cantransfer the information they have acquired to other people in their surroundings. The platform is also designed to reach women with hearing disabilities trough videos with sign language. Also, volunteers have the opportunity to follow up-to-date information on the subject
Our method is quite simple: first you learn and then share with your family and friends.
The e-learning platform has 4 training videos about breast health and breast cancer. We want our volunteers to watch them in order to be trained on breast health. Once they have completed all the topics, there is an informative video they can share with their friends, relatives, students or colleagues. To reach the platform please click….