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Making of the Medical Tactile Examiners

Making of the Medical Tactile Examiners
Highlights

Visually impaired women, trained to be Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs), who use a standardised examination...

Visually impaired women, trained to be Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs), who use a standardised examination method to detect early signs of breast cancer

"Discovering Hands" is an initiative by Bayer, where visually impaired women are trained to conduct physical breast examinations at doctors' clinics.

They undergo a nine-month training period after which they are certified as 'Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs)'. In India, the company is working closely with their NGO partner – NAB India to train blind women to use their highly developed sense of touch for early detection of any abnormalities, which could be indicative of breast cancer.

Through this initiative, perceived disability is leveraged as a talent and a completely new field of meaningful employment is created. Visually impaired women are trained to be Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs) and use a standardised examination method to detect early signs of breast cancer.

The benefits of this method are - Blind examiner can find lumps significantly smaller than physician due to their tactile sense. The screening is painless, non-invasive and carries no risk of radiation unlike mammogram.

Indicates exact localization, size, temperature of the tissue and its changes. Any finding is verified and interpreted by a physician straight after the exam

The program was started by a German Gynaecologist – Dr. Frank Hoffmann in 2010 and spread to Austria, Colombia and Mexico. More than 1,00,000 women have been successfully screened under the program.

As per the information provided by Bayer - Presently, a research study is being conducted at CK Birla hospital to authenticate the credibility of discovering hands model technique. The objective of the research is to study the acceptability, applicability, and effectiveness of MTE in Indian settings and population for early detection of breast cancer via Medical Tactile Examination.

For 1500 research sample set, the MTE findings are being corroborated with Imaging (Ultrasound or Mammogram) and analysed in terms of sensitivity, specificity, false negatives and false positives.

One of the trained MTEs Sakshi Dalmia shares, "I am thrilled at the opportunity to use my skills to improve the lives of others. Earlier I used to not interact with people due to lack of vision and felt that there were not many career options available. After being associated with this project, I feel my communication skills and my overall personality have improved."

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