In a bare room in a remote government-run primary health centre in Vapi, a city in the south-west Indian state of Gujarat, Meenakshi Gupta holds a diagram of a woman’s breast with five Braille-marked orientation tapes pasted on it. Speaking to the woman sitting on the bed, she says: “I’ll paste these skin-friendly tapes on your breast and use my fingertips to check it for any abnormalities.”
Gupta asks the woman to remove her upper garments, uses a hand sanitiser, and begins the routine examination. Dividing the chest into four zones with the tapes, she spends 30 to 40 minutes palpating every centimetre of the breast with varying pressure, before documenting her findings on her computer. Along with the patient’s medical history, Gupta will later send her findings to a physician for a diagnosis of any abnormalities and advice on further assessment.