Facebook Takes Down Breast Cancer Photo Of Patient Raising Awareness About The Disease


A thin line between offensive and educational lies between posting pictures of actual medical conditions on social media. On Jan. 23, Facebook decided to take down a breast cancer photo of a woman, who wanted to raise awareness about the disease.

The woman is Rowena Kincaid, a 40-year-old picture editor who posted a photo of her right breast, showing a red rash around her nipple.

After a few hours, Rowena was locked out of her Facebook account. When she tried to log back in, a message from Facebook appears, saying she has to remove the photo for it violated the website's nudity rules.

She describes Facebook's action as "disgraceful" and added that the action appears automatic.

"It doesn't see what the reason behind it is, it's just automatic," she writes in her Facebook page.

She said she it was not her intention to offend anyone. She herself had a hard time sharing the picture because she was body conscious. Despite that, she took the courage to do it because she believes that awareness will save lives or at least, help other people.

She explains that her nipple appeared lighter because there was a tumor behind it. The tumor takes out her blood supply so it can feed itself thus, causing the change of nipple color.

She adds that the photo showed a rash on the entire chest and not just around the nipple. She further explains that the rash may start small or may look insignificant. However, if the rash won't disappear and appears to be growing, then she advises people to have themselves checked.

Two days after Facebook took down the photo, she posted another one, but this time, she covered the nipple with a smiley face. She wrote a caption on the photo, saying it was great to know that her followers find importance to the photo as much as she did.

Meanwhile, Facebook said it is in the process of investigation.

Rowena was first diagnosed to have breast cancer in July 2009. She underwent a surgical procedure and received chemotherapy. She was 33 then.

In October 2013, she received the same diagnosis and at that time, the doctors said her condition is terminal.

In December 2015, she celebrated her 40th birthday and finished a documentary program entitled, "Before I Kick the Bucket."

Her biggest goals were reaching her 40th and finishing the documentary. Now, she feels lost. She is still on chemotherapy but after that last course, there is nothing left to do but be on palliative care.

Despite the "bleak" future as she describes it, Rowena plans to go back to BBC where she works as a picture editor. She plans to spend one day at work and two days at the hospital every week.

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