Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women both in the developed and less developed world. The World Health Organisation estimates in excess of half a million women die due to the disease each year. The only breast cancer screening method that has proven to be effective is mammography screening, however, this can be very costly – and is frequently unavailable in many communities.

Discovering hands is based in Germany and deploys visually impaired women with their highly developed sensory skills to detect the early signs of breast cancer. These “Medical Tactile Examiners” (MTEs) are trained to deliver physical breast examinations at doctors’ practices.

The Discovering hands approach of using visually impaired women has a number of benefits. The perceived disability is actually leveraged as a talent, as using the extraordinary sensory capabilities of visually impaired women, this perceived “disability” is transformed into a capability. As such, a completely new field of meaningful employment is created for blind women, which offers opportunities for them where they have competitive strengths.

Typically, a regular breast examination carried out by a gynecologist takes between one and three minutes. The MTE invests at least 30 minutes for each session, not only examining the breast, but also educating patients on how to cope with the risk of breast cancer. Patients feel that they are well taken care of and receive the best possible preventive examination in a pleasant environment. Preliminary results show that MTEs detect around 30% more, and around 50% smaller, tissue alterations in the breast than doctors do.

Your next steps…

How could someone with a disability offer you a competitive advantage in your business through the specific skills and talents they possess?

  • How could this offer you a differentiating benefit for your business?
  • Imagine the great social benefit you’d be giving to your community if you employed someone with a disability – and especially if you trained them in a new skill.
  • How could someone with a specific talent from their disability improve an aspect of your business?

Just do it…

Pick up the phone and speak to someone in the social welfare area of your local community. You’ll be surprised at how willing they are to speak to you about employment opportunities.

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