A breast cancer awareness campaign to empower women of India by educating them about early lump detection through simple self-examination techniques
SBI Life Insurance launches ‘Thanks A Dot’, an innovative breast cancer awareness initiative that is supported by the Women’s Cancer Initiative – Tata Memorial Hospital. The programme intends to empower women of India by educating them about early lump detection through simple self-examination techniques. An easy-to-use self-training module to detect the early signs of lump formation can be ordered free of cost through SBI Life’s corporate website.
According to the Union Health Ministry, breast cancer ranks as the number one cancer disease among Indian females. Around 20 per cent of breast cancers are detected by physical examination but unfortunately, only 38 per cent of women regularly undergo self-breast examination. Further, studies indicate that 1 in 28 women are likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime making it even more essential for women to self-examine. While treatment costs can range between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, there is an alarming need for financial preparedness for the treatment, if diagnosed.
Devieka Bhojwani, a breast cancer survivor and Vice President of Women’s Cancer Initiative-Tata Memorial Hospital said, “The Women’s Cancer Initiative, has been constantly working towards making a difference, by spreading awareness about the importance of early detection in breast cancer. India is seeing a steady rise in the cases of breast cancer, with as many as 1,00,000 new cases being detected every year. Early detection is vital and can improve cure rates in about 80 per cent of the cases. Many Indian women and their families rarely understand the importance of this issue and fail to undergo regular check-ups. SBI Life’s Thanks-A-Dot tool allows you to learn and understand what a lump would feel like. It is your way to start familiarising yourself.”
‘Thanks A Dot’ self-detection tool has been designed using real breast cancer mammograms to re-create breast cancer lumps using a special algorithm and 3D printing. The breast cancer lump shapes are put on a learning card in the form of a language inspired by Braille. Users solve puzzles and quizzes using the special language (present on the learning card), thus capturing a positive feeling of carrying out early detection examination and promoting regular self-checks. ‘Thanks A Dot’ helps improve tactile (touch) capacity in women to detect early signs of lump formation.
Ravindra Sharma, Chief of Brand and Corporate Communications, SBI Life Insurance said “Cancer in India has more than doubled over the last 26 years. The impact can be devastating on families both emotionally and financially. Though breast cancer is most common among Indian women both in terms of occurrence as well as mortality, it continues to remain a taboo in India. Moreover, women who are aware of the concept of self-examination are unsure of what a lump feels like. ‘Thanks-A-Dot’ is a path-breaking initiative. While improving tactile capacity in women it also simultaneously fosters positive conversations around self-breast examination, thereby breaking social barriers that have plagued our society for long.”
“As a responsible life insurer, we believe that we have an important role to play in educating and empowering women by increasing awareness about breast cancer and its financial implications. We hope that ‘Thanks A Dot’ can make a meaningful difference by helping women in being prepared for the uncertainties of life,” Sharma added.
SBI Life has leveraged multiple digital platforms to launch the ‘Thanks a Dot’ awareness initiative; the campaign has rolled out with the launch of a video that highlights the significance of the power of touch and showcases the benefits of self-breast examination through this tool. The video urges every woman to take a step further and inculcate a habit of self-breast examination regularly and confidently.
Rajiv Dingra, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, WATConsult said, “Early detection is the key to breast cancer survival and even though many women are aware of this, most are unsure of the feel of a lump formation. Thus, taking an inspiration from the Braille language and power of touch and to inculcate a habit of self-examination at an earlier stage, we created an innovative product – “Thanks A Dot”, an easy-to-use self-training puzzle card to bring the power detection to your fingertips and enabling women to take necessary actions sooner rather than later.”
The first phase of the initiative kick-started on International Women’s Day, featuring the ‘Real Life Real Story’ video of Sujaya Walia, a breast cancer survivor and activist. In the video, Walia is seen talking about her journey fighting cancer, how family and financial preparedness holds key and urges more women to come forward and discuss such issues openly.