It's one thing to send out press releases and public service announcements, but one Delaware health organization is taking things a step further in the fight against particularly troublesome forms of breast cancer.
The Train the Trainer program helps with information, educational materials, and organizational planning for those who attend and seek to perform information sessions within their communities.
Nora Katurakes is the manager of community health health outreach and education for Christiana Care and said they invited local organizations and members of the community to participate in their BRENDA Train the Trainer program.
"The reason we're doing that is we need to get more people trained, with the right information, to go out and facilitate educations sessions in the community," said Katurakes. "We did discussion groups a couple years ago, and the results were: we need more education for our women in the community--people speaking on our behalf because one person can't do it, it takes more than one."
She noted that the message and awareness of fighting breast cancer--and in this case, a particularly detrimental type that is more prevalent in black and younger women in triple negative breast cancer--is more effective when it doesn't come directly from herself or the organization on the whole, but can be more personal with these programs.
"There's a trust and a community engagement," she added. "When people can identify that they know a community such as a church that they belong to, a women's group that they belong to or the [medical] sororities--they can give information, answer questions and really be the voice. When you put out a press release or a billboard, people can't relate to it or trust it as much. We're really taking these people as the brand and telling them to be the ambassadors--go out and share this information."
Nia Bailey is a radiation oncology therapist with Christiana Care and has been working with the program because she understands its importance to local communities that need that information to save lives.
"The purpose is to get the story of triple negative breast cancer and its effects on African Americans differ from other races. We really want to get that out to the community so they can be aware of what's going on in the African American community, spread that information and get everyone educated so we can ultimately save lives," Bailey said, also noting that the correlation between black women and high risks of triple negative breast cancer has yet to be explained--but that's what programs like this and the research that the Helen F. Graham Cancer and Research Center are trying to solve. "They are trying to find that out. What we do know is that triple negative breast cancer primarily affects African American women--women who are younger, and that's defined by 50-years-old or younger as well as certain genetic mutations. As of right now, they are trying to figure all of that out."
Along with regular screenings and conversations with doctors about having genetics tested, a large part of the program is educating women in the BRENDA methods of prevention.
"BRENDA is an acronym for the things that you can do to ward off cancer," she added. "Breast feeding, reduce the alcohol and sugary beverages intake, exercise, nutritious foods, don't smoke, and achieve a healthy body weight."
She pressed the importance of this program and efforts to educate in an effort to help solve the issue of the particular cancer.
"As long as we get this information out--how women can check out their breasts, when to get mammograms, when to talk to their doctors and what kind of treatment to get to, this is groundbreaking to save everyone's lives--not just African Americans--but everyone's lives as well," she added. "At the end of the day, we ultimately are out to save our sister's lives."
Eudel Drain is participating in the Train the Trainer program and is a member of the Chi Eta Phi, Inc. sorority for nurses from school through retirement.
"As a nurse, our thing is preventive care or health of any kind of disease if we can help," said Drain. "I think education is very important, and if the community is educated about this, then they can get better treatment or better treat themselves."
Drain added that the research is important and that a great way to get people involved with that research is to get them involved with their education about the disease.
"The more that people and the doctors know about the disease, the better treatment we'll get eventually," she added. "It requires a lot of research and if people don't get tested or go to these groups and are pointed to the research--they'll never know the correct treatment."