The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 17, 2003


Health self-exam program rates high at CCHS

On Thursday, January 9 the Acton-Concord Hadassah, in cooperation with Emerson Hospital, brought its successful health awareness program Check it Out© to juniors at the Concord-Carlisle High School. This program encourages young people to develop lifelong healthy habits, including monthly self-examinations, so they can take responsibility for keeping themselves well. The students were asked to take this knowledge and information packets home and share them with family members.

Girls and boys attended separate programs. A panel of local physicians and health-care providers presented medical information about issues including the anatomy and physiology of their own bodies, nutrition, exercise, and smoking. Girls learned to perform breast self-examination (BSE) and boys learned to do testicular self-examination (TSE). Students tested their newly learned skills by finding lumps in life-like models; cancer survivors told their personal histories, impressing upon the students that cancer is not some theoretical disease that happens to other people and that early detection can save their lives.

Many people volunteered their time and resources to bring this program to fruition. Carlisle resident Christine DeBruzzi, the CCHS nurse, and Andrea Gillis of the CCHS guidance office worked with Diane Baum of Hadassah to create the program. Medical professionals included Dr. Jay Jakimczyk and Dr. Mariellen Rodman from Acton Medical Associates, Dr. Rachel Kramer of Karemer ObGyn Associates, and nurse practitioner Russ Reid of the Murdock Middle School in Chelmsford. Cancer survivor Linda Lischer shared her story with students to reinforce the message that cancer can strike close to home and can be treated, especially when discovered early.

The combination of medical information, individual stories, handouts and actual examination practice produced a compelling program. Acton-Concord Hadassah will reach about 3,000 local students at eight high schools by the end of this school year. Students wrote anonymous evaluations at the end of the program, consistently commenting on the excellence of this program. Comments included:

"Good presentation. My doctor didn't go into nearly as much detail."

"I never knew how important it was to perform the self-exam."

"Thank you for coming.... The information was helpful and detailed and helped me understand more about breast cancer."

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito