Press Release

Anera’ s Breast Cancer Awareness Program Expands to Jordan

December 6, 2010 | Washington, D.C. – In partnership with the Jordan Breast Cancer Program, Anera (American Near East Refugee Aid) is launching a 10-month breast cancer awareness program in the underprivileged community of Wehdat Refugee Camp, located southeast of Amman.

Anera’s partnership helps the Jordan Breast Cancer Program (JBCP) expand its services to Palestinian women, with hopes that Wehdat will serve as a model to replicate in other refugee camps across Jordan. The project will provide basic services for women there who have lived with limited access to mammography and other services. In the first phase, Anera’s outreach program will educate some 7,200 women to perceive breast cancer as risk to their health and to educate them how to perform regular self breast examinations

Breast cancer poses a healthcare challenge in Jordan primarily because of the lack of awareness on the importance of early detection. Health officials estimate that 70% of cases are detected at advanced stages when survival rates are much lower and the cost of treatment much higher.

A key component of this program is the home visit: Anera is working in cooperation with JBCP and the Jordan Women Union and community workers trained in outreach for interpersonal awareness raising and training on self breast examination through home visits. Experience has shown that effective behavioral change benefits from a one-on-one approach.

The outreach workers also will refer 500 women to have free-of-charge mammograms at Al-Hilal Hospital in Eastern Amman, followed by some 250 recall mammograms and biopsy services for those in need. To measure the program’s impact , 7,200 women will fill baseline questionnaires in January to April, which will then be compared to the post-program information collected from some 600 women in June 2011.

“We believe this personal approach will encourage the women of Wehdat to change their attitudes about the disease, and use the skills we teach them to perform a self breast examination every month, “says Hanan Shasha, Anera’s Country Director in Jordan. “This will help them gain familiarity with their composition and normal feel, making it easier to immediately identify and report any changes since treatment of cancer can be most effective in the early stages.” The program also will provide practical advice about where, how, and when to go for further screening.