Delhi hosted Dr Frank Hoffmann, who pioneered the internationally accepted Discovering Hands concept and ‘Tactile Breast Examination’ (TBE) technique. In his presence, the CK Birla Hospital for Women, Gurugram and the NAB India Centre for Blind Women revealed that his method’s application saw a high level of sensitivity in the early detection of breast cancer among women screened in Delhi NCR over the last three months. A validation study was started by the CK Birla Hospital for Women, Gurugram and NAB India Centre for Blind Women in March 2019, with support from the Bayer Crops Science Group in India in collaboration with Discovering Hands, Germany.
Tactile Breast Examination is a unique breast screening technique that uses the highly developed sensory skills of visually impaired women for manual breast health screening.
Commenting on the findings emerging from the study, Dr Mandeep Malhotra, Director, Surgical Oncology & The Breast Centre, CK Birla Hospital for Women said, “The country is witnessing a steady rise in incidence of breastcCancer (~11.54%,Globocan 2012) and also mortality due to the disease (~13.82%, Globocan 2012). In urban areas, one in 22 women are likely to suffer from breast cancer during their lifetime. Of these, 50% may not survive within five years of diagnosis. Inadequate screening and advanced stage of presentation are the contributors to the rising death toll.Early detection by effective screening protocols is the possible solution.”
According to American Cancer Society Guidelines, the standard screening process of mammography, should start at the age of 45. Breast cancer in Indian women is a decade younger in comparison to western women with peak incidence at 40– 50 years and Indian women have inherently higher breast density. Both the facts suggest limited application of screening mammography in Indian settings. The manual breast screening methods in the form of Self Breast Examination (SBE) and Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) are also sparingly used. SBE is limited by the lack of proper knowledge and confidence and CBE by the lack of sufficient time and resources. In the process of finding a possible solution for early detection, we evaluated the enhanced touch (Tactile Sensation) of a visually impaired (Blind) women, called as Medical Tactile Examiner (MTE), who have been trained to conduct Breast Examination (Discovering hands concept).