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Check It Out

  

 

 

For the past 18 years, Hadassah of Greater Baltimore’s award-winning CHECK IT OUT®program has provided free of charge breast and testicular cancer education to public and private high schools, inner-city clinics, organizations and businesses throughout the Baltimore area.   

   

HGB’s CHECK IT OUT® program is a community-wide, grassroots effort that was designed originally for 11th and 12th grade young women. The program focuses on the importance of self-examination as a means of early breast cancer detection.  

 

As a result of the CHECK IT OUT® program, more than 125,000 girls and women to date have received information from breast cancer survivors and health professionals on the importance of breast self examination, as well as mammography and clinical exams, for early detection.  Participants also receive take-home kits on breast health, including information and a lifelike miniature breast model with tactile examples of what breast lumps feel like.  CHECK IT OUT® not only helps dispel the myths and misconceptions about breast cancer among the student participants, it encourages them to share the information and materials they receive with the adult women in their lives.  More over, it empowers them to take responsibility for their own bodies and their own health care at a period of heightened impressionability and body awareness.

 

As one young participant wrote, “When Hadassah came to Pikesville High School to talk about breast cancer awareness, it was kind of a big joke to me and my friends. . . Until I found a lump. . . I took home the literature and simulated breast with the microscopic lumps inside and put it away, but later found it and decided to check myself.  What I found surprised and terrified me.  I cannot believe I had something this big in my body and I didn’t know it. . . I was just finishing my junior year at Pikesville when I read through the papers from CHECK IT OUT®.  Like most girls my age, I hadn’t given much thought to breast cancer. . . I always wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t seen that program that day.  I couldn’t be more grateful for what Hadassah did for me.”

 

Beginning in 1999, HGB expanded the CHECK IT OUT® program to include education components for boys about testicular cancer.  To date, 30,000 area high school boys have benefited from this initiative.  Underscoring the impact and importance of the program, a 17-year old young man recently returned to school following his recuperation from surgery for testicular cancer identified as a direct result of the CHECK IT OUT® presentation held at his high school.

 

The Baltimore CHECK IT OUT® program has been recognized nationally by Hadassah, as well as locally by the American Cancer Society Maryland Division and the Baltimore City, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Frederick County school systems for it exemplary work.  According to Patricia Brownlee, Curriculum Specialist for the Baltimore City Public School System, CHECK IT OUT®is the only one-hour program that demonstrates a true impact on the lifelong health promotion behavior of young men and women.  Hadassah of Greater Baltimore, through the persistence and integrity of its members, has raised the comfort level of the 11th and 12th grade students by encouraging them to know their bodies through self examination.”

 

Funds to support CHECK IT OUT® come from a variety of sources including foundations, organizations and individual donors; as additional resources are identified the program will continue to expand and provide its life-saving message to other community groups.

 

For more information or to help with CHECK IT OUT® please contact us.

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