School starts breast cancer education program

A new program to educate young girls about breast cancer detection launched Tuesday at a Milford school.Deborah Smith, who has been the school nurse at

MILFORD - A new program to educate young girls about breast cancer detection launched Tuesday at a Milford school.

Deborah Smith, who has been the school nurse at Pumpkin Delight School for four years, says she used a new tool developed by the Milford-based Get In Touch Foundation to show fifth-grade girls how to perform self-breast exams. Mary Ann Wasil Nilan, a breast cancer survivor from Milford, founded the organization to develop educational programs about breast cancer and early detection.

Smith used the daisy wheel, which has eight rotating tips about breast exams and women's health. One tip tells girls to think of their breasts as daisies with petals and a center to illustrate the different pressing points on a woman's breast that girls should examine frequently. Wasil Nilan says, after surviving breast cancer for more than five years, she wanted to help prevent cancer in other women. Wasil Nilan says educating young girls about self-breast exams will help them feel comfortable with the process from an early age.

"What we say is BSE like BYT. Breast self exam like brushing your teeth," Wasil Nilan says.

Wasil Nilan says the Get In Touch program will be available to all schools in Connecticut this fall and schools nationwide in two years. She says all the materials are provided at no cost to the schools.

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